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More than Half of U.S. Firms Use Gift Cards as Rewards

Published: Feb 4, 2013

A new study by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) confirms that the incentive gift card market is a vast, multi-billion-dollar industry. The 52% of U.S. businesses that currently use gift cards spend $22.7 billion a year in this category. Employee gift card programs are the clear favorite – over 60% of firms using gift cards name employees as recipients. Other key recipient groups include salespeople, channel partners and customers. The IRF, in partnership with the Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC), collected and analyzed data from a national sample of business executives in an effort to estimate the size and spread of the gift card marketplace. Researchers found that a total of 59% of U.S. businesses use some type of non-cash award program, and 52% use gift cards to recognize and reward their employees, salespeople, channel partners or customers. This means that fully 87% of companies offering non-cash awards use gift cards as part of such programs. Other highlights from the study: Open- and closed-loop cards are used by far more businesses than restricted and virtual cards. Sixty-eight percent of the market uses open-loop cards, and 54% use closed-loop. Approximately 12% use restricted cards – a lower incidence than virtual cards, which 14% of businesses are now using. There are differences in how companies of various sizes source the gift cards for their programs. Large businesses are more likely to use a card provider that can deliver many different types of cards, while smaller businesses are more likely to go directly to retailers for their cards. Approximately one-third of U.S. businesses use both card providers and retailers, regardless of the size of the business. Most gift card buyers report that their future spending will either remain the same or increase, raising an expectation that this market category will continue to thrive and grow. “The economy over the past years has affected many things, but the research confirms that the use of gift cards in business is still very strong,” says Betty Weinkle, Past President of the IGCC. “We find that the convenience, variety and desirability of gift cards contribute to their ability to motivate, reward and recognize.” For more information on the IRF Gift Card Market Study, go to http://theirf.org/Gift-Card-Market-study.6094109.html ... [ read more ]

Customer Engagement Requires More Than Rewards

Published: Feb 4, 2013

By themselves, rewards programs rarely create the full emotional attachment that brings true customer engagement. Engagement is built over time and comes from creating mutually beneficial relationships with customers. One of the keys to creating relationships is providing customers with direct access to company decision-makers through a feedback management system that demonstrates that the company cares about them and is indeed listening. Research shows that companies that are effective at listening to their customers build loyalty and engagement over time. They take the information they receive from customers and make changes, whether it involves a specific individual in a bank branch, a customer service department or the entire company. When customers recognize that their concerns, suggestions or feedback are responded to and resolved, they begin to realize that they’re important to the organization, that their voice can make a difference and that they have a relationship with the brand. Kyle LaMalfa, Senior Business Insight Analyst at Allegiance Inc., says that while reward points can encourage transactions and add value to a brand, positive experiences and listening to customers will create engaged customers and add to a brand’s strength. Engagement is about the relationship that a customer has with a brand and the brand with that customer. Engagement programs work together with loyalty programs to fill the gaps and connect to people’s hearts and minds. True engagement is built over time, through positive experiences, and most importantly by listening to the voice of your customer. To download the full Allegiance report, go to www.allegiance.com/resource-center/document-library/buying-loyalty-and-rewards-programs ... [ read more ]

Secrets of Effective Employee Engagement

Published: Feb 4, 2013

New research by Bersin & Associates shows that recognition programs dramatically improve employee engagement and reduce turnover, yet 87% of organizations still rely on outdated tenure-based service level awards. Companies with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement have 31% lower voluntary turnover than their peers with ineffective recognition programs. The findings, which appear in a new research report, The State of Employee Recognition in 2012, indicate that recognition plays a much more measurable role in business performance than previously believed. “This new research highlights a huge opportunity for companies to redirect existing expenditures to programs that significantly influence engagement and retention,” says Josh Bersin, President and CEO of Bersin & Associates. “The findings also suggest that recognition programs should align with an organization’s comprehensive performance management strategy to drive business results.” To download a copy of the WhatWorks Market Brief on the importance of recognition in performance management, go to http://marketing.bersin.com/Recognition.html... [ read more ]

Corporate Learning & Talent Development Summit - April 28-30, - 2013 - Atlanta, GA (Event Concluded)

Published: Jan 18, 2013

The Corporate Learning and Talent Development Summit offers a unique format for the learning & talent executives across North America to attend strategic summit sessions led by thought leaders from across the industry, and meet with leading solution and service providers through a number of one-on-one business meetings and many organized networking activities. Topics of the presentations at the event: Leadership Training and Development Succession Planning for Tomorrow's Leaders Global Management Training High-Potential Training and Development Social Networking and Employee Collaboration Web 3.0 Target Audience: Include: CLO, SVP, VP and Head of Learning, Talent Management and HR ... [ read more ]

New Book Explores the Engagement Equation

Published: Nov 27, 2012

One sign that engagement has emerged as a formal field is the proliferation of books published on the subject over the last few years. The latest, The Engagement Equation: Leadership Strategies for an Inspired Workforce, by BlessingWhite consultants Chrisopher Rice, Fraser Marlow and Mary Ann Masarech, and published by Wiley, focuses specifically on how to infuse engagement throughout your managerial and organizational culture. A fundamental premise of the book is that “you can’t actually make employees engaged. Engagement is fundamentally an individualized equation. What might make one person engaged might turn off the person in the next cubical.” The authors stress the link between “maximum engagement and maximum contribution…” – i.e., the importance of continually linking engagement to organizational results. The book stresses the importance of finding a common definition for engagement and a way of talking about it in the organization; focusing as much on individuals as on global trends or indices; making engagement a priority and shared responsibility so that everyone has a stake in the process; making sure management is as engaged as employees are expected to be; and how to map out an overall plan that provides a clear direction and vision, open communication and realistic ROI measurement tools. They caution that surveys tools should be used to diagnose issues rather that simply as a “prize.” Click here to view a video by the authors.... [ read more ]

Corporate Benefits Summit - January 20-22, 2013 - Las Vegas, NV (Event Concluded)

Published: Nov 6, 2012

The Corporate Benefits Summit is the premium forum bringing senior level benefit executives and solution providers together. As an invitation-only event taking place behind closed doors, the Summit offers an intimate environment for a focused discussion of cutting edge technology, strategy and implementation of solutions to forward thinking corporate benefits executives interested in staying ahead of the market.... [ read more ]

Employee Engagement Surveys - Measurement Issues Webinar

Published: Oct 31, 2012

Join the Enterprise Engagement Alliance and Hay Group on Tuesday, December 4th for a FREE expert discussion of best practices and methods in the selection, implementation and analysis of employee engagement surveys. This curriculum segment provides practitioners with a formal framework to determine the best approach to measuring employee engagement in a way that can identify granular solutions. Topics include:... [ read more ]

Most Engaged Employee Contest Will Recognize & Reward Top Talent

Published: Oct 17, 2012

Most Engaged Employee Contest Will Recognize & Reward Top Talent The Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) has launched the Most Engaged Employee contest to publicly recognize actively engaged employees for making a significant difference for their employers, colleagues and customers/clients. The annual winner, to be named in May 2013, will receive a trip for two specially designed to fulfill a personal dream or desire they haven’t had the time or resources to accomplish. Monthly winners will receive gifts specifically selected based on their personal interests – something special and meaningful that they will always remember. Visitors to the website (www.mostengagedemployee.com/) can nominate themselves or anyone they know and/or anonymously measure their own level of engagement using the Personal Engagement Meter. Nominees will be judged on a variety of criteria, including ongoing actions indicative of a high level of engagement, length of service and clear evidence supporting how they made their organization a better place to work or created better experiences for customers, clients or patients. ... [ read more ]

2013 R&R Expo/RPI Annual Conference to Be Held in New Orleans

Published: Oct 17, 2012

Held in conjunction with the 2013 Recognition Professionals International Annual Conference and the first Incentive Research Foundation Rewards & Recognition in Business education series, the 2013 Rewards & Recognition Expo, scheduled for April 28-30, 2013 in New Orleans, is the only national conference and expo specifically designed to help incentive, recognition and engagement practitioners/providers elevate their role in Corporate America. The event will feature over 100 providers of rewards, recognition and engagement products and solutions in a unique “Conversation Center” format to encourage dialog, collaboration and innovation, and an exhibit-floor Engagement Learning Pavilion highlighting the latest engagement tactics and services. There will also be a slate of Plenary Sessions on the emerging field of engagement, co-sponsored by Recognition Professionals International, the Enterprise Engagement Alliance and the Incentive Research Foundation. In addition, the Incentive Research Foundation will debut its “Rewards & Recognition in Business” series, the field’s first ongoing education program based on the latest research in the field, designed for practitioners and providers of recognition and incentive programs. More information is available here >

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Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW) - November 7-8, 2012 - New York, NY (Event Concluded)

Published: Sep 11, 2012

CETW is the only face-to-face event that is focused on leveraging the integration of emerging media across multiple channels to activate customer engagement. Only at CETW will you get a first-hand look at emerging technologies, access to case studies and experience from brands, agencies and other thought-leaders across the industry. Use VIP code CET27F to apply for a complimentary conference pass. Visit www.cetworld.com/eea for more information. ... [ read more ]

McBassi & Company, EEA Develop Engagement-Based Stock Index

Published: Sep 10, 2012

Costco, FedEx, Time Warner, Google and others earn top grades in ‘Good Company Index’ The Enterprise Engagement Alliance Good Company Stock Index has been created to draw attention to the compelling connection between an organization’s relationships with customers, employees and communities and its subsequent performance in the stock market. The EEA Good Company Stock Index (GCSI) uses the Good Company Index™ developed by human resource analytics leader McBassi & Company to track organizations based on their business practices as sellers, employers and stewards of communities and the planet. Firms making the inaugural Good Company Index list include Agilent Technologies, Apple, American Express, Biogen Idec, Campbell Soup, Costco, FedEx, Ford Motor, Gap, Google, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Time Warner and Whole Foods. Low-scoring companies include Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Dollar General, GameStop; Oracle, Sears Holdings, Tyson Foods and United States Steel (see full lists below). ... [ read more ]

IRF Announces Business Education Series for 2013

Published: Sep 6, 2012

The Incentive Research Foundation has announced the creation of a professional development series for progressive practitioners of incentive and recognition programs and the providers whose advice and counsel support their thinking. The program, “Building Better Business Results through Incentives and Recognition,” will be introduced at the 2013 Rewards & Recognition Expo held in conjunction with the Recognition Professionals International Annual Conference, April 28-30, 2013 at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans, and continue through the spring and summer of 2013. The educational series will provide five hours of education in five of the critical areas of incentive and recognition program development and execution: Business case development Communications planning and execution Award funding and selection Technology and diagnostics Overlaps with other strategic agendas within the organization (operations, marketing, etc.) Speakers will include IRF President Melissa Van Dyke, Chief Research Officer Rodger Stotz and Mike Ryan, SVP of Madison Performance Group. For more information, go to http://theirf.org/Education.6084727.html... [ read more ]

Don't Miss This Important Webinar on Social Recognition!

Published: Aug 13, 2012

The Enterprise Engagement Institute and Marcus Evans offer you this opportunity to be at the forefront of the emerging trend of ‘Social Recognition.’ This free webinar will address the most important issues surrounding Social Recognition, which uses software and communications to enable people to recognize one another and build relationships across the organization. Topics include: • Defining Social Recognition • Key tools/technologies of Social Recognition • Key issues your SR program must address • What can be done to make Social Recognition meaningful and engaging? • What sorts of management and controls are required? • How can Social Recognition be tapped to foster collaboration and innovation? • How can its impact be measured? ... [ read more ]

Take Your Engagement Pulse at Mostengagedemployee.com

Published: Jul 23, 2012

Anyone can track their own individual engagement at any time and compare it with those of others using the Personal Engagement Meter at www.mostengagedemployee.com Just go to mostengagedemployee.com, click on the box on the upper right that says ‘The Personal Engagement Meter’ and follow the simple steps. It takes just a few minutes, it’s completely anonymous, and you’ll see how you stack up against more than 2,000 people who have already taken the survey. Organizations can also anonymously benchmark their engagement practices against those of other companies using the Enterprise Engagement Benchmark Indicator at: www.eewidget.com/eebenchmark/ Mostengagedemployee.com is a website and contest seeking to recognize America’s Most Engaged Employees. It is produced by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance at www.enterpriseengagement.org ... [ read more ]

Rewards Without Relationships Won’t Work

Published: Jun 27, 2012

By themselves, reward programs rarely create the full emotional attachment that brings true customer engagement. Allegiance Loyalty & Engagement Expert Kyle LaMalfa notes that engagement is built over time and comes from creating mutually beneficial relationships with customers. One of the keys to creating relationships is providing customers with direct access to company decision makers through a feedback management system that demonstrates that the company cares about them and is indeed listening. ... [ read more ]

Linkage Leads to Peak Performance

Published: Jun 27, 2012

A recent TNS Global Panel Study reveals that integrating employee, brand, and customer engagement is strongly connected to high performance. Research from across 23 countries has established four key insights that aim to increase the brand promise to customers and enable the growth of high performing companies: 1. Develop better relationships with employees 2. Focus on the customer experience 3. Be committed to delivering the brand promise to customers 4. Serve as a brand ambassador, and actively promote the company to others. The gaps between “top company” and “well below average” are substantial. This supports the belief that the brand promise has to be experienced by employees so they can live it with the company’s customers. High performing companies are breaking down the silos between customer and employee engagement and branding, and viewing them as multiple expressions of the core of who they are. Go to http://tnsemployeeinsights.com/ for more information.... [ read more ]

New EEA Primer and Engagement Supplier Directory Published

Published: Jun 27, 2012

A new Enterprise Engagement Primer on the emerging field of Enterprise Engagement has been published, along with a directory of various types of engagement service providers supporting the curriculum development efforts of the Enterprise Engagement Alliance. The primer, featured on the home page Resources box on the EnterpriseEngagement.org portal, provides a concise overview of the field; it’s economics; and critical steps, as well as free resources available on the field at EnterpriseEngagement.org. It’s designed as a Quick Start guide for anyone charged with developing an engagement strategy seeking both access to a formal framework and suppliers that can help them get started. This Primer is distributed online at the EnterpriseEngagement.org portal and to attendees at Marcus Evans engagement education programs. ... [ read more ]

BYU Professor Gary Rhoads Joins Enterprise Engagement Alliance as Academic Advisor

Published: Jun 20, 2012

The Enterprise Engagement Alliance has announced that Gary Rhoads, currently the Stephen M. Covey Professor of Marketing and Associate Director of the Entrepreneurship Center at Brigham Young University, will join the EEA curriculum group as Academic Advisor, effective immediately. Professor Rhoads will advise the EEA on its curriculum development on Enterprise Engagement for businesses, as well as the creation of an education program for students at various levels. “I believe that the field of engagement is entering an exciting stage of development,” says Rhoades. “Engagement may be to the 21st century what advertising was in the last century in terms of impact on business. I’m eager to contribute to the formalization of the framework and best practices being developed by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance, and to help bring this to the widest possible audience of businesses and students.”... [ read more ]

Marcu Evans 8th Edition Talent Management & Leadership Development - August 7-8, 2012 - Chicago, IL (Event Concluded)

Published: May 15, 2012

Hear from 15+ expert practitioners on strategies and best practices in incorporating an enterprise wide approach to talent management and leadership development programs to maintain competitive in a changing global market. Attending this conference will enable you to: - Combine the talent value chain with business and workforce planning strategies to deliver a sound talent management and leadership practice - Ensure a fully integrated talent management practice to establish consistency across the employee lifecycle - Create and implement a multifaceted leadership development strategy that contributes to overcoming succession hiccups - Apply proven talent management and succession plan forecasting methodologies to develop a balanced approach to engaging, retaining and developing HIPO employees - Design a talent analytics practice that links fluctuations in key business drivers to talent management and succession planning forecasts ... [ read more ]