Category Archives: Trends

Employee Recognition: The Rise of Virtual Rewards

gThankYou! Employee TrophyA new study has shown that employees are increasingly favoring virtual rewards over those which come with a specific dollar value, according to research by gamification platform Badgeville, and employee motivation company Make Their Day!

What are Virtual Rewards?
Virtual rewards are ways of providing employee recognition without using financial incentives, and they’re currently thriving in companies nationwide. Virtual rewards can come in many forms, including but not limited to:

  • Praise and recognition from an immediate manager or peers
  • Opportunities for growth – such as leading a team
  • A better title/more responsibilities in the workplace
  • Reward for achieving workplace goals
  • Just plain fun!

Virtual rewards are often used through gamification; a process gaining popularity using the principles of game play in a non-game application. BunchBall provides a useful white paper on Gamification 101, if you are new to all this. Out of the employees surveyed, 88 percent said they find virtual recognition from their managers “extremely motivating”.

The Benefits
The report’s findings showed that 83 percent of employees felt that they got more satisfaction from recognition at work than particular rewards of monetary value. Not only that, but 71 percent claimed the most meaningful recognition they’d ever received cost nothing at all!

Cindy Ventrice, president of Make Their Day! and author of ‘Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works’ says: “The value of non-tangible recognition is clearly identified in our findings. Workplace technology today, such as gamification, provides many new opportunities for non-tangible recognition. With nearly one-fifth of meaningful recognition being delivered virtually, it is clear that these methods can be effective.”

Growing Popularity
According to Incentive Magazine, the research showed 70 percent of employees found rewards meaningful to them even though they did not come with a monetary price tag – that’s an increase of 57 percent from six years ago.

“It’s about status and employee recognition. They are giving meaningful virtual rewards for exceptional work. They deliver what employees and consumers actually want, which is emotional reward”, stated Gabe Zichermann, founder of Gamification Corp.

The study was conducted using responses from over 1,200 workers from a diverse range of industries to establish what drives and motivates them to perform well in the workplace.

Cryptocurrency for Employees
Perhaps you’ve heard of Bitcoin? It’s already been adopted by many merchants, and now companies are beginning to explore the possibility of using this cryptocurrency (digital currency) as a kind of reward system for employees.

One company, called Recognize, has already created a mobile app supporting Bitcoin as an alternative way to reward workers.

Mario Herger, the enterprise gamification scheme’s designer and Austrian Innovation Center’s CEO based in Silicon Valley, said: “Tangible rewards like  money can lead to disengagement.”

He went on to say: “Yet, there are a lot of scientific examples where giving people money rewards other than salary means that people are interested in going the last mile.”

That’s why Bitcoin seems to be one solution; it’s not really money, but it works well, if not better.

A Tool to Add to Your Recognition Program
Virtual rewards are proving a great way to yield satisfied and motivated employees in the workplace, so why not consider adding virtual rewards to your recognition program today?

Ken Comee, CEO of Badgeville said: “The results of the Make Their Day! study aligns to what we’ve seen across our customers deploying gamification solutions for workplace engagement, as well as numerous reports over the last few years on the changing face of what motivates employees today. Workers of all ages, especially the rising millennial population, are motivated by real-time feedback, fun, engaging work environments, and status-based recognition over tangible rewards.”

Remember, personal recognition by management should never be eliminated by virtual rewards. Instead, think of virtual rewards as an additional way to motivate and positively engage with employees within your company; and as a tool that’s particularly valuable for engaging millennials.

Does your company currently use virtual rewards?  How do they work in your workplace?

Want to learn more about the role of employee recognition for engagement and the long-term health of your business?  You’ll enjoy our FREE eBook below:

gThankYou! 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.

Trends in Employee Recognition Goals and Awards

gThankYou! Certificate of ExcellenceWorldatWork reports that more than 88 percent of organizations have recognition programs and 70 percent offer three to six different programs to recognize and reward employees. Their February 2013 Report, “Trends in Recognition”  surveys over 5,000 WorldatWork members and shows some very interesting trends in employee recognition.

The top three recognition programs in use in 2013 are length of service, above-and-beyond performance, and peer-to-peer. Programs to motivate specific behaviors are increasing and sales performance recognition is decreasing, having dropped out of the top five recognition programs.

Recognition – Top 5 Goals
WorldatWork’s survey reports the top five recognition goals as:

  1. Recognize years of service
  2. Create a positive work environment
  3. Create a culture of recognition
  4. Motivate high performers
  5. Reinforce desired behaviors

This indicates that employers’ top priority is to recognize loyal, long-term employees but also want to use recognition to improve their work environment and culture and drive motivation and behavior.

Recognition – Top 5 Types of Awards
The WorldatWork survey reports that the top five types of recognition awards are:

  1. Certificates/plaques
  2. Cash
  3. Gift certificates
  4. Company logo merchandise
  5. Food

This indicates that employers still believe that cash and cash equivalents are what mean the most to employees.  Research over the last several years supports that employees actually prefer gift certificates and gift cards, especially for practical items such as food. (For more, check out Incentive Magazine’s recent study: “Majority of Consumers Use Gift Cards for Necessities”.)

Growing Impact on Performance Management
In another recent study,  Society of Human Resource Management, along with Globoforce, surveyed 770 HR leaders who provided key insight into employee recognition trends. The survey found:

  • Employee engagement fueled by recognition is under utilized
    HR leaders say that employee recognition is key to employee engagement but engagement is underutilized and a top HR challenge. Less than half of survey participants track employee engagement levels, but those that do experience higher levels of employee and manager satisfaction from recognition efforts.
  • Employee recognition fills a feedback gap in successful performance management
    HR leaders feel that employee recognition programs effectively acknowledge employee performance even more than performance appraisals.
  • Employee recognition delivers ROI in key areas
    HR leaders reported that employee recognition increases productivity, customer and employee retention, employee engagement, return on profit margin, and return on equity. They reported increases of more than 50 percent in all these areas.
  • Employee recognition aligned with core values develops effective managers
    HR leaders see a strong correlation between recognition aligned with core values and more effective managers interacting with, engaging, and effectively recognizing the right behaviors.

Other interesting and important results of WorldatWork’s survey about trends in employee recognition include:

  • More than half the participating organizations have Human Resources administer recognition programs.
  • Less than 15 percent of organizations provide any training on employee recognition to managers.
  • Only 11 percent of organizations feature recognition in recruiting to attract candidates.

Opportunities
Trends show increasing awareness of the real value of employee recognition to business outcomes, although most employers still focus on recognizing and rewarding length of service the most. Continued improvements in employee recognition and reward are needed for the most effective impact on motivation and return on investment.

Recognition programs that motivate specific behaviors are the fastest growing, increasing by 16 percent since 2008. The most effective recognition opportunities that any company can take advantage of include implementing a written recognition program strategy, aligning that strategy with organizational strategies and providing training on employee recognition to managers.

Where does your organization fall in these numbers?  Does HR manage your recognition programs? Do you provide recognition training to managers?

Learn more about the relationship between employee recognition, engagement and your business bottom-line in our FREE Guide Below:

gThankYou! 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.

Employee Engagement – It All Starts with Happiness

Employee engagement is difficult to define, but you “know it when you see it” (with thanks to Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart for his much paraphrased quote).

“Culture trumps strategy, every time.”
Nilofer Merchant in Harvard Business Review Blog

“Get the right people on the bus.”
Jim Collins, from “Good to Great”

gThankYou! Happiness BillboardCompanies that genuinely cultivate strong employee culture know these things to be true.  They see the results; employees live it, customers know it, recruits know it.

How can companies develop a more engaged workforce by building a more customer-centric culture?  It all starts with happiness, and that’s great news!

Why?

You may think happiness is amorphous; that’s it’s a know-it-only-when-you-see-it thing, as Justice Stewart did (albeit about obscenity in a movie).

It is not.

In recent years an entirely new scientific field has developed — the study of happiness.  Pioneered by University of Pennsylvania psychology Professor Martin Seligman, this field has grown into the Penn Positive Psychology Center .  Dr. Seligman’s work has important implications for employee engagement.

Seligman and his team also have great news for businesses and other organizations:

  • Happy people are much more effective in many ways that are highly valued by organizations.
  • Happy people can be identified, so they can be recruited.  Believe it or not, one study shows individual’s long-term happiness can be determined by a photo!  It’s true; an “authentic” Duchenne smile is a valid predictor or many traits associated with happiness.
  • Happiness can be developed because it is a learned trait.  Your organization can teach it; colleagues can learn it.  (People can learn helplessness, too.)

Where does happiness come from?  How does it begin?  Two places:

First, it comes from using personal strengths.

Next, it comes from gratification; “calling on one’s strengths to meet a challenge”.  Gratification results from doing something meaningful; it is not just doing some pleasurable activity.

Let’s break this down.  What are the strengths managers should look for?  Strengths are virtuous.  They’re the personal traits we would admire in any setting, not just at work.  These strengths, these virtues, are universal, they are admired in any culture.  Among the strengths associated with workplaces are:

  • Wisdom and knowledge
  • Courage
  • Love and a deep sense of humanity
  • Appreciation of justice

Next, gratification; it comes from doing something worthwhile, something someone believes in.

For leaders, this breakthrough learning about happiness, strengths, gratification and successful management is crucial.  Ask yourself:

  • Do I know my team members’ strengths?
  • Do they know them?
  • Do we agree on those strengths?
  • Do we, together, agree what tasks and projects give them the best opportunities to develop, showcase, and create value from these strengths?
  • Do we identify and agree on the results from their projects that constitute success?

Then, do my team members similarly identify the strengths of their team members?

In coming posts, we’ll dig more deeply into employee engagement topics such as:

  • Workplace activities and behaviors that are likely to inspire happiness.
  • The value of collaboration in happiness.
  • How happiness can be learned, and taught.
  • Creating gratifying work.

Do you think of your employees in terms of their happiness?  What workplace efforts do you employ to inspire happiness?

Learn more about the relationship between employee satisfaction, engagement and recognition in our FREE Guide Below:

gThankYou! 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.

Are You Ready for National Employee Appreciation Day?

World Complement Day LogoMarch 1st is the Perfect Day to Celebrate Employees!

Here’s Why:  It’s both National Employee Appreciation Day AND World Compliment Day!  Wow, how perfect is that!

Celebrating employees should be a regular event at any workplace, but sometimes there are days that are fun and are so well suited to tie in your recognition events, it’s hard not to take advantage of them.  This Friday, March 1st is one of them.

Don’t despair if you don’t have any plans yet.  Making employees feel valued can be a simple as a heartfelt “thank you”.  Make your thanks public – thank employees as they walk in the door Friday, over lunch at the cafeteria, in the plant and posted on your internal internet. You can even post your gratitude on the World Compliment Day tweet stream at: @complimentday.

Time permitting, a handwritten note delivered personally really shows you care.

It’s a great day to host that workgroup breakfast or lunch you’ve been talking about.  Make it easy and fun.  Order in pizzas or welcome all to a spread of ice creams and toppings, a sure way to brighten everyone’s Friday afternoon.

For other quick ideas, check out these helpful articles:

And, if nothing else, be generous with your gratitude and appreciation.  It will be appreciated!

What’s your favorite way to show employees they are valued? 

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.

Comfort Winter Soups | Recipes for Recovering

Something has been going around my office, church and social circles, and it’s not a funny Facebook meme. Everyone seems to be coming down with a strange cold-flu hybrid, an exhausting, hacking, miserable illness that takes a good week to work its way out.

When you’re sick, the last thing you might feel like doing is cooking. But if you happen to be the healthy one — or if, like me, you’ve already recovered from the plague and are ready to help your sniffling family or even your coworkers — one of these soups should do the trick.

Chicken soup

1. Chicken Noodle Soup

This is the soup I made two weeks ago when I was guzzling NyQuil at night and curling up with tea during the day. Alton Brown uses chicken stock (homemade if you’ve got it), a few savory elements (onion, celery, garlic) and relatively quick-cooking egg noodles for a quick and easy pot of healing goodness. It’s so simple, I’ll repost the recipe right here.

Note: If you don’t want to cook the noodles in advance, they cook right in the broth if you let it simmer for about 6-8 minutes.

  • 4 cups chicken stock, home-made or store-bought
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 ounces dried egg noodles, cooked to al dente
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Lemon halves, for serving

Bring stock to boil for 2 minutes in a large, non-reactive stockpot with lid on, over high heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic. Lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Add noodles and cook 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and add herbs and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with lemon halves and add squeeze of lemon juice if desired.

2. Kabocha Squash and Celery Root Soup with maple syrup and browned butter

Squash celery root soup

My all-time favorite soup tome is Anna Thomas’ “Love Soup,” a 2009 James Beard Award-winning cookbook with some 160 recipes for green soups, bean soups, squash purees and more.

This lovely blend can be altered by using butternut or acorn instead of kabocha squash, and carrots in place of turnips. The brown butter gives it a wonderful depth, and an immersion blender makes quick work of the finishing steps.

3. Basic Green Soup

green-soupOne more from Anna Thomas — and this one takes awhile, but it’s worth it. Her green soups begin with caramelized onions, which themselves can take 30-45 minutes to fully brown into a sweet “onion jam.”

In the meantime, stem and chop a few bunches of greens, like dinosaur (lacinato) kale, spinach and chard. Cook arborio rice to give the soup heft, and finish with a swirl of fresh “green” olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

4. Pasta Soup with Potatoes and Pancetta

photo by  Kate Whitaker

photo by Kate Whitaker

Recipe writer  puts this soup under the heading “Craving Comfort” on the blog Leite’s Culinaria, and it’s certainly hearty enough to warrant the name.

“Many people would never associate pasta and potato, but in this case, you’re really going to have to trust me,” she writes. “This recipe has been in my family for more than 50 years, and considering that so far there’ve been two chefs in the family, it must be fantastico!”

Pancetta is important in this one; find it at Whole Foods or specialty markets.

5. Hearty Tomato Soup with Lemon and Rosemary

EI1109_Tomato_Soup_lg

I love this rich tomato soup from Giada De Laurentiis for several reasons. First, the addition of cannellini beans pureed into the soup gives it both texture and hidden protein.

Second, the creme fraiche and lemon zest give it a zing! of tanginess, offsetting the sweetness of the tomatoes. And I love how streamlined it is, starting with veggies I always have around in winter (onion, carrot, garlic) and building with pantry staples, like crushed tomatoes.

What are your favorite comfort soups?  We hope you stay well this flu season.

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 Joy of Thanksgiving Turkey: A History

At the first Thanksgiving, they probably didn’t have a turkey.

According to a story by NPR’s Robert Krulwich, the main course was probably deer (brought by the Wampanoags), goose and duck (brought by the English).

But in these United States, in 2012, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without a fat, browned bird popping and sizzling in the oven, rendering fat for a rich gravy, leaving behind a wishbone for kids to fight over.

“I believe from a good turkey all Thanksgiving flows,” wrote Kim Severson in The New York Times, in a story headlined “After the Turkey, Everything Else is Secondary.”

“Norman Rockwell didn’t spend all that time painting pans of sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce, did he? No. He painted turkeys.”

For Americans, the bird is central to (arguably) the biggest feast of the year. Expatriates, like David Leite in France, students abroad in Spain and Peace Corps workers in Morocco go to great lengths to procure, prepare and serve a bird, which, thousands of miles away, tastes a little bit like home.

One small food pantry gives out 2,000 Thanksgiving meals on the weekend before the holiday, anchoring each one with a Jenny-O or a Butterball between 13 and 20 lbs.

Even Sam Sifton, the former New York Times restaurant critic and author of “Thanksgiving: How To Cook It Well” (Random House, October 2012), will never forget the memory of the first turkey he cooked as a college kid.

“The aroma that wafted through the house for the duration of that first college Thanksgiving was and remains incredible to me,” Sifton writes. “I have forgotten the conversations. But never the meal. I have been cooking that Thanksgiving turkey ever since.”

Charles Masters for CookingLight.com

Your family Thanksgiving table might include sweet potatoes with Gorgonzola, creamy corn casserole, roasted cauliflower or stuffing with spicy peppers. It might include Jell-O salad, cranberry sauce from a can and Stove Top stuffing.

But your Thanksgiving table, like mine — like 88 percent of Americans’ — needs a beautiful, browned turkey to make it complete. And that is a very delicious tradition.

Here at gThankYou!, we wish you and your family a joyous Thanksgiving.  We are grateful for all of your support, inspiration and business.

Gratefully yours,
The gThankYou! Team

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.

Olympic Hosts Talk Turkey…or Ham

The summer Olympics are long over (though our fascination with Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt may endure). But let’s not turn away from Britain just yet.

gThankYou! Turkey Sweet Leek Pie

Turkey Sweet Leek Pie
by Jamie Oliver
Photo by David Loftus

Some UK chefs, notably the glamorous Nigella Lawson, school food activist Jamie Oliver and the approachable, affable Simon Hopkinson, have excellent ideas for making the most out of fall and Thanksgiving inspired cooking.

1. London-born Nigella Lawson, the TV show host, chef and celebrated author, has one of the most approachable, entertaining voices of any cookbook writer I’ve ever encountered. Her Ultimate Greek and watermelon/feta salads here on from “Forever Summer” are almost literally addictive — I made one or the other nearly every day for an entire season. “How to Be a Domestic Goddess” (Hyperion, 2001) gave me an amazing apple walnut cake and transformed the way I make brownies.

For those new to entertaining, “Feast: Food to Celebrate Life” (Hyperion, 2004) is a reliable place to start, with ideas for everything from Thanksgiving and Christmas to a first “meet the parents” dinner. Try her recipe for “Spiced and Super-Juicy Roast Turkey,” made with cinnamon, caraway, allspice and cloves, whether it’s a holiday or not.

gThankYou! Book Cover of Roast Chicken and Other Stories

Cover, “Roast Chicken and Other Stories”
By Simon Hopkinson

2. London and BBC Food chef Simon Hopkinson is so enamored of roast chicken, he named a book after it. A mash-up of anecdotes and recipes, “Roast Chicken and Other Stories” (Hyperion, 2007) combines influences from world cuisines, including Turkish, French and Spanish food, with British classics, like his mom’s potato cakes.

Each chapter has an ingredient for a title, like anchovies, garlic, scallops, endive, chocolate and, of course, chicken. I can’t wait to try his recipe for pancakes with Parma ham and asparagus, perfect for early fall when the long, green spears are briefly back in season.

Find his deceptively simple, butter-rich recipe for roast chicken at Serious Eats.

gThankYou! Roasted Marmalade Ham

Roasted Marmalade Ham
By Jamie Oliver
Photo by David Loftus

3. From Britain’s favorite Naked Chef to the food revolutionary of rural America, Jamie Oliver has kept at the core of his career the basic, home-cooked meal. With ingredients like lamb shank, mussels, pork and potatoes, he makes British cooking seem both easy and delicious.

Even beginners can enjoy his straightforward recipe for Roasted Marmalade Ham (from “Jamie’s Dinners,” Hyperion, 2004). Or put Thanksgiving leftovers to use in his turkey and sweet leek pie.

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 free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo, and ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief 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.

Employee Thank You Gifts – Learning from U.C. Berkeley

gThankYou! - U.C. Berkeley LogoTo appreciate and embrace diversity in its workforce, U.C. Berkeley’s Facilities Services Department instituted a formal employee recognition and thank you gift-giving program, resulting in measurable improvements.

On-the-Spot Employee Thank You Gifts

Like many businesses, managing and embracing diversity is becoming increasingly important as minority populations continue to grow in the U.S.  That’s one reason UC Berkeley’s Facilities Department wants to embrace diversity in it’s workforce. To help the department do so, its members developed an Employee Recognition Program that allows Supervisors and Managers to thank employees with on-the-spot Gift Certificate awards in varying amounts.

Supervisors are empowered to give instant recognition at the $25 level, and amounts above that level are available to give but require the Vice Chancellor’s approval. The department also acknowledges award recipients in its monthly newsletter.

Employees identified the need for a reward and recognition program, and confirmed they’d value Gift Certificates of gratitude.

Top Management supported implementing the program and provided funding—both of which UC Berkeley’s Human Resources Department emphasizes are essential for a successful employee giving program. Facilities services generates a quarterly report to measure program results and keep management apprised.

Tangible improvements

The program gives Supervisors an engagement tool to acknowledge exceptional work-related accomplishments on the spot. U.C. Berkley reports tangible improvements to the department as a result of adopting the employee giving program include:

  • Improved communication and employee morale
  • Increased employee motivation to improve performance
  • More harmonious work environment and culture

The program meets the needs of a diverse workforce, since employees identified the need, developed the process and have ongoing input. In fact, Managers and Supervisors believe the giving program is so successful and is worth replicating because management listens to staff-identified needs, includes staff in the decision-making process, and provides opportunities to give feedback.

What do you believe are the keys to a successful workplace giving program? What results have you seen?

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 free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo, and ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief 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.

Make Workplace Gifts Work for You

Workplace Gifts are not the easiest to choose given tight budgets, but done right, they can make recipients feel valued and appreciated.gThankYou! Thank You Note  Holiday time or anytime.

At gThankYou! we believe a handwritten “thank you” note goes a long way to making any workplace gift special.

Tory Johnson, workplace contributor for Good Morning America and CEO of WomenForHire.com, lists her top-four employee gift tips in Winning Workplace Gifts:

  1. Cash, gift certificates and gift cards are always top the list of favorite gifts.  Now more than ever.
  2. Avoid anything too personal. If you’d rather buy a gift over giving money, avoid overly personal gifts such as perfume, lingerie, liquor or religious items.
  3. Make a donation in your recipient’s honor to the charity of your choice.  This is especially good if you need a non-cash idea or you don’t want the value of your gift revealed.
  4. Remember, don’t re-gift, because you never know who will recognize that cute knick-knack you received last year.

Do it right!
As an article by Laura T. Coffey, contributing editor at NBC News’ Today page, Office gift-giving: Pens good, body spray bad,” says:

“Do it right, and you can make your boss, coworkers, clients and assistants beam with a warm and happy glow. Do it wrong, and—hoo-boy. Pray for:

a) Mercy
b) Short memory spans

To be clear, gift-giving at work certainly isn’t mandatory. But if you’re going to do it, stuff these particular stockings with the greatest of care. Small, thoughtful tokens of appreciation are ideal, gift-giving experts say.”

Workplace gifts do not need to break the bank.  That’s why so many businesses choose gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude for affordable yet meaningful gifts of food – such as a whole turkey or ham for the holidays.

Give it some thought
But it’s the thought that counts, right? That’s what Sue Vering, creative director at global ad agency Draftfcb, asks in a Chicago Tribune article.

The answer? Sherri Athay thinks it’s one tired cliché, Vering writes. Athay, with husband Larry, wrote Present Perfect: Unforgettable Gifts for Every Occasion as well as the upcoming books Present Perfect: A Guide to Global Gift Giving and Present Perfect: A Guide to Business Gift Giving.

“Every time I hear someone say ‘it’s the thought that counts’ as an excuse for just giving anything, I think to myself, `No. It’s clear you just didn’t give this any thought,'” Athay says in the article.

It’s true, you do have to think first before buying employee gifts, but some items are tried and true.

Have you started your Workplace Gift planning for the holiday season?  Let us know if you have found great ideas for your workplace you would like to share.

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are one of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand whole Turkey or half or whole 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 free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo, and ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
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.

World Class Customer Service, Zingerman Style

Or, Why we Love Zingerman’s…. 

By providing truly exceptional service and caring to customers—and employees—Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan has grown from a corner deli to the nationally acclaimed Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (ZCoB).

gThankYou! - Zingerman Founders

Started in 1982 by Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig, who pined for a great Jewish style Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Today Zingerman’s Deli is the source of great food and great experiences for thousands of visitors every year. And, is a model of world class customer service.

Zingerman’s is committed to delivering the most flavorful, traditionally made foods, in an entertaining, educational and service-oriented setting.  Whether at one of their many food stores or via their catalog.

You have to be doing something right to get accolades like these:

“America’s Top Independent Retailer for 2011
Gourmet Retailer Magazine

“Probably the best food store (and catalog) in the U.S.”
Jeffrey Steingarten on National Public Radio

“Best Overall. Best Service.”
Zagat Gourmet Shopping Online

The Coolest Small Company in America.”
– Inc. Magazine’s Bo Burlingham calls ZCoB 

Celebrity chef Mario Batali deems Zingerman’s “The center of my gastro-deli universe.”

Even “Oprah raves Zingerman sandwiches are an 11 on a scale of 1 to 5.”

How do they do it?

Zingerman’s has the right mission and guiding principles, among them, great service, a great place to work, and strong relationships. From the top down, every employee lives them.

One of its companies, ZingTrain, offers books, seminars, DVDs and other tools to help you learn to live its service philosophy, too.  How can you not love a company that offers customer service training classes called, “Creating a Vision of Greatness”, “The Art of Giving Great Service” or yes, “Fun, Flavorful Finance”?

Even the Artwork is fun!

Ari Weinzweig’s book, Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service, shares “how-to” formulas for delivering the ultimate in customer service, Zingerman style.

It all boils down to this…
Treat your customer like royalty.  And treat each other as well as you treat your customer.

Zingerman’s Five Steps to Creating a Culture of Service:

  1. Teach
  2. Define
  3. Live
  4. Measure
  5. Reward

And the Three Steps of Great Service:

  1. Find out what the guest wants.
  2. Get it for them:
    1. Accurately.
    2. Politely.
    3. Enthusiastically.
  3. Go the extra mile!

Not to mention the Five Steps to Handling Complaints:

  1. Acknowledge the complaint.
  2. Sincerely apologize.
  3. Make it right.
  4. Thank them.
  5. Document the complaint.

Zingerman’s Communicates with Fun and Enthusiasm!

To ensure employees live its mission, Zingerman’s provides what Carole Matthews of Inc. Magazine calls, “The World’s Best Employee Manual,” which enthusiastically communicates how employees can provide world-class customer service.

“For instance, the wastebusting pages include text, graphics and bullet points to emphasize ways to reduce waste. Employee testimonials, like the Xtra Mile Files, share ways employees have gone the extra mile for their customers.

From getting along with others, to a guide for great finance, to answering the phone, Zingerman’s clearly—and playfully—presents what’s most important in running the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses.”

It’s definitely food for thought.  Does your business treat customers like royalty?  What can you learn from Zingerman’s?

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are one of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand whole Turkey or half or whole 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 free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo, and ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
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.