Posts tagged: recognition awards

Cash Just Isn’t Enough When it Comes to Recognition and Engagement!

By John Schaefer, October 5, 2015 12:27 pm

Ask your employees what they want for recognition and you’ll tend to hear some from of these answers:

1. Cash
2. Time off
3. Something I can use

Interestingly, these answers are all a form of cash; none of them hitting on what research shows employees actually need to become more engaged, productive and fulfilled – to be Loved and Respected.

Why? I think it has to do with the question. Nothing against surveys, but most employees, when asked how they prefer to be recognized, don’t fully trust the question, tend to offer the answer they think you want to hear and won’t ever admit they earn enough money. In a way, this is a set up question and not likely to ever get answered honestly with the secret to what employees want from their leaders.

This article may help better explain the place for cash in recognition and offer you some things to consider as you strive to optimize your most important resource – people!

If you have any questions about recognition, employee engagement and performance management, feel free to email or call and I’ll share what I’ve learned over the past 27 years as a passionate student of what makes your employees want to become all they can be.

To learn more about Awards, Rewards and the best ways to use them to optimize our investments in your people visit or email me personally at

The Future of Incentives is Going Digital

By John Schaefer, December 1, 2010 7:14 pm

I found this article from Hinda Incentives. I think they may be on the right track, see if you agree.

In the early days of digital marketing and social media, brand advocacy online was more or less a volunteer effort. Early adopting tech users with good (and bad) consumer experiences with brands took the time to talk about that brand in their own social feeds. The early days were also exciting in the fact that social media opened up this new door for consumers to be able to interact with brands. Marketing was no longer (well in theory anyway) a one-sided conversation where the brands controlled all the messages. Consumers could now be part of that marketing conversation.

It was – and still is – an exciting time. The winds are changing though. The initial thrill of being able to talk to a brand is wearing off. Social media usage is growing exponentially and not all the users want to be part of brand advocacy for kicks. There has to be something in it for them. Companies now have to not just rely on the “yay social media” wave but come up with effective ways to keep the consumer base engaged in conversation about their brand.

That’s where incentives and loyalty programs come in.

Incentive and loyalty companies (in theory anyway) are masters in modifying behavior. We typically see this in the form of employee motivation, helping company workers take the necessary to achieve and even excel certain goals. Incentive programs should be designed to drive a certain behavior from a group and reward them accordingly for participating in those behaviors.

Tapping into digital loyalty is a huge opportunity for our industry. Using our knowledge and capabilities to help drive consumer behavior will be huge in the digital space. So a company wants consumers to talk more about their brand online….talk about in what ways? Do they want more Twitter mentions? Foursquare or Facebook place checkins? Completed activities on SCVNGR? If they do these things, what’s in it for them? How will they be motivated to take part in those behaviors desired by your company/brand.

Digital media and loyalty is going to be part of the incentive industry’s future. Loyalty programs will play a much bigger role in successful digital marketing efforts.  What do you think? What other ways will incentives play a part in the future of digital marketing?

If you’d like to know more about how this can happen at your company, visit me at

Low Employee Engagement is Still Alive and Well, but it Doesn’t Have to Stay That Way

By John Schaefer, July 20, 2010 11:52 am

By John Schaefer – America’s Employee Recognition Expert

I just read a great LinkedIn Article posted by Hillary Roberts of Corporate Performance Management. It was written by Ethan Yarbrough President of Allyis, Inc. about his job at a lumber yard when he was 18. It is a perfect example of how poor management decisions on how to deal with employees can drastically reduce performance, morale and profits. Read his article here:

Here’s my reply to Ethan and his the followers of his LinkedIn string:

Nicely stated Ethan; our lumber yard experience is a great example of why so many companies struggle to engage their Gen Y workforce. It’s all about trust. As a recognition expert, my team and I find that the moment employees (particularly Gen X and Y employees) get an inkling that you are using recognition or incentive programs to manipulate their behavior rather than to genuinely thank them for being valuable members of your team, they quickly shift into “Overthrow the Tyrant” mode.

Conversely, the more you integrate behaviors and policies from that garner trust and display management vulnerability, the more your younger people will be motivated to bring all of their talent, creativity and passion to the workplace . . . and you get this additional value for free!

I got into the employee recognition business after working for five years in a professional position, but quickly developed my own “Overthrow the Tyrant” attitude. I ended up walking out of my Industrial Engineering job in a major firm; essentially due to trust issues with my boss. Immature no doubt, but it lead me to consider why employees develop negative, unproductive habit patterns at work and write my first book The Vocational Shrink – An Analysis of the Ten Levels of Workplace Disillusionment.

Now, with over 20 years in the recognition and incentive business, it is sad to see that with all of the technological advancements, the understanding of how to engage employees is still in the Stone Age at many firms. The good news is that some of us like Ethan and myself, have some answers to share.

If you’d like to know more about how this can happen at your company, visit me at

Is Your Recognition Provider a True Recognition Professional or a Vendor from a Glorified Fulfillment House?

By John Schaefer, May 20, 2010 10:33 pm

by John Schaefer – America’s Employee Recognition Expert
I read an interesting article today questioning the validity of employee engagement and the companies who provide these services. The writing was asking about how you can tell the difference between a true recognition professional and a vendor who’s just peddling awards. Here’s what I responded:

In the highly vendor-structured, narrowly siloed recognition awards and incentives industries a lot of companies are trying to appear as consultants rather than suppliers. Is it working?

One way to find out is to see how quickly they begin pitching their favorite (or most profitable) products, rather than searching for how they can best help you achieve your organization’s goals and objectives. While creative and original awards are wonderful, they are only effective when put in the hands of educated, engaged and enthusiastic managers, then presented to employees who know they’re appreciated.

Just giving out stuff leads to an entitlement culture. A true recognition partner works with you to develop a strategy and a total solution that ties all of your communication goals into a single, managable platform. This approach saves money, maximizes results and yields provable ROI, so can be shown to be self liquidating, not just an expense.

To learn more visit us at

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