Tag Archives: Harvard Business Review

Thanking Employees at Easter Time

A sincere “thank you” at work means a lot, so it makes sense to find ways to show your employees you appreciate them throughout the year.

WateringCan 2013Whether you choose to celebrate the Easter Holiday or Springtime, your employees will be grateful for the recognition and the post-winter pick-me-up.

In fact, a Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog notes that saying thank you is vital. In “Do You Really Need to Say Thank You?” Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, writes:

“When you offer a real thought-out “thank you” to someone, you’re acknowledging her effort, appreciating her thoughtfulness, recognizing her intent, and offering feedback on the impact of her actions.

Still, it’s more than that. Those things are rational, but saying “thank you” is mostly an emotional act. It connects one person to another. Saying “thank you” doesn’t just acknowledge someone’s effort, thoughtfulness, intent, or action. It acknowledges the person himself.

Acknowledging other people is … perhaps the critical responsibility … of a good manager, but … that’s understating it. Acknowledging each other is our basic responsibility as human beings living in community with other human beings.”

But is it appropriate to celebrate Easter in the workplace?

gThankYou! - 5 Easter Eggs Enclosure CardMost Companies say Yes! So says WorkplaceCommunications.com:

“Of course, not everyone celebrates the holiday, but this should not stop you from offering your employees a [thank you gift].”

An article by Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) staff in HR Magazine makes a great point about any workplace gifts or festivities for holidays: Make sure everyone feels included. If that means a more secular approach for your organization is a better fit, don’t loose the great opportunity to thank employees, just change your emphasis to celebrating the emergence of Spring.

“It can be difficult to stay religiously neutral during [holiday] celebrations,” according to SHRM member Melissa Fulwider of Augusta Iron & Steel Works Inc. in Augusta, Ga. Her tips include:

  • Thank employees for their work throughout the year.
  • Give everyone a small gift.
  • Share a meal with employees.

Here are a few employee appreciation ideas for your Easter or Springtime gift:

  • Homemade TreatsHot cross buns, carrot cake muffins, cupcakes with bright-colored frosting, or decorated sugar cookies say Happy Easter or Happy Spring.
  • Gift BasketsWhile they’re typically for kids, what adult wouldn’t want to receive basket full of chocolate and other goodies?
  • Items that Say “Spring is Coming”Try a flower-pot with a packet of seeds or planted spring bulbs that will bloom in the office.
  • Small Gift Certificates or Gift CardsEmployees will appreciate even a $5 certificate for pie or ice cream.  Something they can enjoy alone, or share with their family. There’s a gift certificate or card for every budget.
  • Office Party – Host an office breakfast or special lunch. Make it festive and everyone will enjoy the special break. It’s a great way to celebrate a team or work group.
  • Get Outside – Celebrate by planting flowers at a local shelter.
  • Write a Thank You Note – Personalized notes of gratitude are always a welcomed gift of recognition.

In “Easter Activities for the Office,” SmallBusinessFreeForms.com suggests an Easter office party:

“An office Easter basket lunch party always put a smile on [workers’] faces. … Take some Easter Baskets and fill them with a sandwich, Easter hard-boiled eggs, chips, and don’t forget the Easter cookies and candy. You can also add some Easter-themed pens and notepads, etc. to the baskets. Have some refreshments to go along with these and maybe a large fruit and vegetable tray … with a little Easter decor and have some fun. …”

If you go the party route, SmallBusinessFreeForms.com offers a free Easter party flyer.

If you choose homemade gifts, Workplace Communication.com, in “Easter Basket to Make for the Workplace,”  suggests a fun way to make them. If your staff is small, maybe a group could have a (paid) work party and make them for the rest of the team.

 How does your business thank Employees at Easter time? Do you celebrate the Easter holiday or make it a Spring-theme event?

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.

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Research Shows Happy Employees Are More Productive

gThankYou! Happy Worker

Employee happiness is becoming a hot topic among CEOs and in boardrooms, notes Rob Markey in a Harvard Business Review blog post, “Transform Your Employees into Passionate Advocates.”

“[It’s] one more sign of the growing recognition that happy, engaged employees are more productive and generate better outcomes for their companies,” he writes.

But, he adds, only a few of the things that make employees happy result in real, sustained benefit for their companies. As Gretchen Spreitzer and Christine Porath note in one of a series of HBR articles on employee happiness, “It’s not about contentment, which connotes a degree of complacency.”

Timely, Meaningful Recognition

Markey and his colleagues have studied the links between employee engagement and customer loyalty for a few years, and have found that the only route to employee happiness that also benefits shareholders is through a sense of fulfillment resulting from an important job done well.

It’s about recognizing employees in a timely, meaningful way. Employees should be able to connect the recognition—whether it’s a personal note, a small gift, or both—with their hard work on the company’s behalf.

The Happiness/Productivity Link

Several other organizations weigh in on workers’ mindsets. A Businessweek article by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer,  “Employee Happiness Matters More Than You Think,” says, “Ultimately … the source of productivity is the individual knowledge workers who get things done every day. And the evidence is clear: People perform better when they’re happier.”

For 10 years Amabile and Kramer researched creativity, productivity, and the psychology of everyday work life. Their findings: “Whether we looked at entrepreneurial startups or large, established enterprises, the same holds true: People are more productive and creative when they have more positive emotions.”

“In fact, we found that, if happier on a given day, people were not only more likely to come up with a new idea or solve a complex problem that same day but also to do so the next day.”

Gallup provides statistics linking employee feelings and corporate outcomes, Amabile and Kramer note. The organization reports that disengaged employees’ lost productivity costs U.S. businesses more than $300 billion a year. Another Gallup study by researcher James Harter and others concluded that employees’ past feelings about an organization can predict sales and profits at a future point in time.

U.K.-based research, too, suggests clear links between workers’ happiness and their productivity. Jamie Doward’s Observer/Guardian article, “Happy people really do work harder,” reports that a team of economists led by Andrew Oswald, a professor of economics at Warwick Business School and a leading authority on the relationship between economics and mental health, says its research has important implications for the worlds of politics and business.

“We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity,” the team says. “Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings, while negative emotions have the opposite effect.”

The Warwick economists note: “Happier workers … were 12% more productive. Unhappier workers were 10% less productive.”

Employee Gratitude Done Right

If you show employees they’re valued, they’re more likely to have positive feelings about your company and their jobs. Here are three tips for effective employee recognition:

  1. Let line managers lead—Immediate supervisors are best equipped to observe when an employee thank you is warranted, or to review the results of performance metrics and recognize top performers.
  2. Keep it simple—Managers shouldn’t have to wade through complicated reports to determine who their top performers are.
  3. Customer feedback—What’s more powerful than hearing a customer’s thank you?

As Markey’s HBR article says, “When frontline employees and managers hear directly from customers — when they see how customers scored their experience, when they hear what went right and wrong in the customer’s own words — the effect is dramatic. Applause in the form of positive feedback inspires them to keep up the good work.

“Loyal, passionate employees bring a company as much benefit as loyal, passionate customers. They stay longer, work harder, work more creatively, and find ways to go the extra mile,” he continues. “They bring you more great employees. And that spreads even more happiness — happiness for employees, for customers, and for shareholders.”

How do you ensure your employees receive timely, meaningful recognition?  How do you keep workers feeling fulfilled?

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.

It’s Not Too Late to Share Your Gratitude with Employees!

Your employees work hard for you all year. The holidays are almost upon us, and if you haven’t planned a holiday thank-you for them, you still have time.

gThankYou! Winter Thank You NoteAfter all, as Harvard Business School professor and author Rosabeth Moss Kanter writes in a Harvard Business Review blog post, “12 Gifts for Cash-Short, Recession-Weary Workplaces”:

The gift of workplace caring keeps on giving, by providing energy and motivation for the hard work ahead.”

Give Gift Certificates and Gift Cards

CareerBuilder lists gift certificates and gift cards in the top three most appreciated employee gifts in “Top 10 Last Minute Employee Gift Ideas”:

“Other than cash itself, the gift card is an always appreciated office gift. It also gives you a way out from having to become too personal with your decision.”

And gThankYou Certificates of Gratitude are fast, easy, affordable and easy to deliver on time. You can order online, and we ship nearly 100 percent of orders the day we receive them.  You can choose amounts from $5 to $30, and we’ll never miss your deadline—ever.

Celebrate

You might order in lunch for employees and hand them their gift certificates personally. You might have executives cook and/or serve the food.

Kanter’s article suggests having bosses serving employees is a gift in itself:

“Senior executives could cook and serve breakfast, deliver the mail, or do valet parking.”

Party

Or you could throw a party for your employees, if you’re so inclined, as the Long Beach, Calif., Press-Telegram illustrates in “Bottom Line: Company holiday fetes a thank you to employees,” by staff writer Karen Robes Meeks:

“After an eventful year that included a feature in Sunset Magazine and the installation of the city’s first parklet at his business, Lola’s Mexican Cuisine owner Luis Navarro wanted to celebrate the restaurant’s success with his employees.

So he made room in his budget, and thanks to a friend and customer, the Retro Row business owner hosted a holiday party this past weekend at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club. It was an intimate, family-style celebration with barbecue and a jumper for the kids.

‘We really had this phenomenal year and I wanted to do something really nice, so that our employees understand that they’re appreciated,’ Navarro said.

Regardless of circumstances, Navarro said thanking his employees is important. ‘We’ve got to take care of our people and let them know that they’re doing a good job,’ he said. ‘You don’t have to break the bank; at least you’re doing something to let them know they’re appreciated.’”

A recent survey by CareerBuilder of 1,150 hiring managers nationwide shows 56 percent will spread holiday cheer around the office this year by giving presents to their employees. While a third plan to spend $10 or less per staff member, 20 percent expect to spend more than $25, and nearly 10 percent expect to spend more than $50.

Shouldn’t you be part of the 56 percent giving workplace gifts? The gesture will repay you all year.

How do you plan to reward your employees this 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.

Free eBook: “Ultimate Employee Gift-Giving Guide” by gThankYou!

Download your FREE “Employee Gift-Giving Guide”, the perfect resource for your holiday gift-giving planning.

gThankYou! Employee Gift Guide

Click Image to Download!

Everybody wants to feel valued and appreciated-and that includes your employees.  In this handy guide, you learn why recognition is so important to employees and your bottom-line, as well as best practice learning you can put to use in your workplace.

Here’s a peek at our “Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving” Table of Contents:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Why It’s Important
  • What’s In It for You
  • How to Do It Right
  • Best Employee Gifts
  • Potential Pitfalls
  • Successful Employee Gift-Giving in Action
  • Resources

Whether you manage others, own a business or are an HR pro, you will find research and tips that will benefit you in managing your most important asset, your employees.  We hope you enjoy this FREE eBook and share it with coworkers and friends.

Download your free copy now by clicking this link:
“The Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving”

Happy Holidays,
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 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.

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Employee Recognition Best Practices: 5 Tips from Taj Hotels

Recognition is one of the top three creators of “workplace superheroes,” along with opportunities for growth and trust.

Kevin Kruse, serial entrepreneur behind award-winning companies and New York Times best-selling author of Employee Engagement 2.0, makes that observation in his book and in a Forbes article, “Employee Recognition: 5 Keys from Taj Hotels Resorts.”

He notes: Many best practices for recognition can be gleaned from a company many Westerners are unfamiliar with, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.

An interesting article in Harvard Business Review, “The Ordinary Heroes of the Taj,” links the Taj’s employee service training to their heroic performance during more than one terrorist incident.

While most businesses luckily won’t have to deal with terrorist incidents, any service business can use these tips to successfully thank and recognize employees.

From the article, Kruse pinpoints the following 5 keys :

1. Expressions of gratitude must come from immediate supervisors, who are central to determining how employees feel about the company. This bears out the old saying suggesting that people join companies, but leave managers.

2. The timing of the recognition is usually more important than the reward itself. A verbal “thank you” at the time of exceptional work is better than a financial thank you six months later.

3. The Taj Group created a Special Thanks and Recognition System (STARS) that links customer delight to employee rewards. The important point here is that they have a system for thanking employees ongoing.

4. Employees accumulate points throughout the year for compliments from guests, compliments from colleagues, and their own suggestions. Appreciation from one’s peers can be more powerful than praise from management.

5. At the end of each day, a STARS committee reviews all nominations and suggestions. At the end of each day. Wow! That keeps the momentum going.

How do you provide recognition in your service business?  What makes a difference for 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.

Thank Your Staff: It’s Administrative Professionals Week!

Always the last week in April, with Administrative Professionals Day Wednesday, April 25, it’s a great time to show your gratitude and appreciation to these valued employees.

gThankYou! - Administrative Professionals Week 2012 LogoThe theme for this year’s Administrative Professionals Day  is “Admins, the pulse of the office,” according to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), as the holiday marks its 60th anniversary.

It’s one of the largest workplace observances outside of employee birthdays and major holidays, IAAP reports. The event is celebrated worldwide, bringing together millions of people for community events, educational seminars and individual corporate activities recognizing support staff.

Say it with Gift Certificates of Gratitude
Holiday Insights notes the most common ways to recognize your administrative professionals are:

  • Cards, often with Gift Certificates
  • Flowers
  • Lunch
  • Candy
  • Gift baskets

Administrative Professionals:  The Heart and Pulse of the Office
These professionals certainly deserve your thanks. IAAP calls them “the steady center of efficiency … helping ensure jobs get done right, on time and under budget.”  And, usually with a smile and a bright disposition too.

International speaker and trainer Marja Lee Freeman, “The Employment Lady”, and founder of M.L. Freeman Consulting, asks  “So, what are YOU DOING for your staff this Administrative Professionals Week?” in her article, Administrative Professionals Week Celebration . “It’s time people realize the office administrator is the heart and pulse of a successful organization—for profit, nonprofit or any profit!” she enthuses.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants work in the United States and 8.9 million people work in various administrative support roles.

Recognize Support Staff’s Contributions
Although it’s important to recognize employees throughout the year, Administrative Professionals Week provides a great opportunity to thank support staff for their contributions, advises OfficeTeam’s Robert Hosking, Executive Director of the world’s largest temporary staffing service for Administrative Professionals.

The staffing firm’s press release at PR Newswire, OfficeTeam Offers Recognition Tips For Administrative Professionals Day (April 25), says “Although the achievements of these individuals often occur behind the scenes, administrative professionals make a significant impact on their organizations every day.”

And Harvard Business Review enumerates admins’ contributions in The Case for Executive Assistants.  “At senior levels (of Management) the return on a skilled assistant can be substantial”, says author Melba J. Duncan.  And, “granting middle managers access to an assistant—or shared resources—can give a quick boost to productivity even at lean, well-run companies.”  Duncan adds:

“Effective assistants can make enormous contributions to productivity at all levels of the organization. They ensure meetings begin on time with prep material delivered in advance. They optimize travel schedules and enable remote decision making, keeping projects on track. And they filter the distractions that can turn a manager into a reactive type who spends all day answering email instead of a leader who proactively sets the organization’s agenda.”

Melba J. Duncan is president of search and consulting firm The Duncan Group and author of  “The New Executive Assistant: Advice for Succeeding in Your Career”.

At gThankYou.com, we’ll thank our support staff with gift certificates for ice cream.  How will you thank yours?  Let us know.

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.

4 Ways to Successful Team Building

Employees with team spirit feel more appreciated, work together better and are more productive.

Douglas R. Conant, recently retired President and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, talks about employee engagement in an Inc. Magazine article posted on Business Insider called “How FormergThankYou! - Teamwork Photograph Campbell’s Soup Company CEO Doug Conant Pulled the Brand Out From A “Circle of Doom”.
“My observation has been, is, and always will be, that you can’t have an organization that consistently delivers innovations unless you have a high level of engagement and high level of trust.  People just won’t take risks,” he writes.

Team Building is a Challenge!
Teamwork leads to trust and engagement, Conant blogs in his post Building Effective Teams Isn’t Rocket Science, But It’s Just as Hard” at the Harvard Business Review.  This post is part of the HBR Insight Center: The Secrets of Great Teams should you be interested in learning more.

“Over my 35 years of experience in the corporate and nonprofit worlds, I’ve been part of hundreds, if not thousands, of teams of all shapes and sizes”, writes Conant.  “I’ve led some of these teams as a Fortune 300 CEO, and I’ve been at the bottom of the ladder as a marketing assistant at the start of my career.”

4 Ways to Build Successful Teams
Conant offers four key guiding thoughts that can materially improve your odds of team building success:

  1. Hire Highly Effective Team Members. Conant looks for the 4 C’s: competence, character, courage, and collaboration.
  1. Focus on Inspiring Trust. He calls this the single most important challenge, noting Steven Covey says in his book, The Speed of Trust , “It is the one thing that changes everything.” Over time, Conant has found that trust, based on competence and character, trumps all other attributes.
  1. Encourage Candor. It’s important that teams acknowledges mistakes and celebrate progress in a timely way.
  1. Be Clear About Expectations. The greater the clarity of the mission, the greater the odds of success.

Bottom line, Conant believes, “If you fully leverage these four guiding thoughts, you may not build the next-generation space shuttle, but you will most assuredly see your teams soar to new heights.”

How do you help your team soar?  Why are your best teams successful?

Conant is the coauthor, with strategic leadership and learning expert Mette Norgaard, of Touchpoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments. Douglas Conant was recently elected to the Board of Directors for Avon announced by Daily Markets.

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.