Meet in Ireland

One of the best things about travel is the discovery of something new. New experiences, new people and new cultures. In November, 2015 I participated in the Meet in Ireland familiarization trip, the biggest of its kind to ever take place in the country, where over 200 people from across the world gathered to learn more about the country’s rich culture. Meet in Ireland gave me and my peers in the industry, the opportunity to experience Ireland from our client’s perspective. To stay in the country’s world-class hotels, get behind the scenes access to some of the country’s most spectacular gala venues, and take tours of some of Ireland’s secret escapes, so that we can craft an incredible itinerary for our clients the next time they are considering hosting their program in a European destination.

Upon arrival, we were all eager to experience what the country is most famously known for – historic castles, world famous Guinness, authentic pubs and fantastic music scene. What I didn’t expect, were the unique experiences that our hosts had planned for us along the way. When we arrived in Dublin our first stop was the Guinness Storehouse. This was our first introduction to one of the country’s soul foods, soda bread, that followed us during all of our stops across the country. Every restaurant we visited served their own variation, and we were eager to try them all. This year, the Guinness Storehouse beat out the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, and Buckingham Palace to be named ‘Europe’s Top Tourist Attraction.’ After doing their guided tour, it was easy to see why.    The tour begins at the bottom of the world’s largest pint glass and continues up through seven floors filled with interactive experiences that blend Guinness’ long brewing heritage with the country’s rich history.  At the top, we were rewarded with a pint of Guinness in their world-famous rooftop Gravity Bar.  In addition to hosting tourists, the entire venue can be rented to host corporate groups of up to 2,000 guests. As the saying goes, ‘The more the merrier.’

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Photo used under creative commons from j0hncooke.

Our hosts for the familiarization trip, Wallace Travel Group emphasized their ability to create unique experiences for their incentive groups. Experiences that allow visitors to discover a secret Ireland, one that is untouched and undiscovered by commercial tourism. During one of our ‘Secret Escapes’ we were taken to the country’s rugged west coast, to a private luxury home, directly on the ocean, where we enjoyed one of the most amazing seafood feasts I have ever tasted, cooked by the gracious home owners. The artisan food and drink experience included some of the best seafood off the Atlantic waters; oysters, lobster, crab, salmon, with a selection of salads and pastries. Next, we were whisked off on the owner’s private yacht where stunning ocean views and indulgences of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, and a selection of exotic fruits awaited.

A visit to Ireland is not complete without a drive along the Wild Atlantic Way, touted as the wildest, most enchanting and culturally rich coastal touring routes in the world. The drive was spectacular and along the way we stopped at the iconic Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s most visited natural attraction.

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Photo used under creative commons from Indigo Mood.

 

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Photo used under creative commons from Shai Bl.

Ireland has much more to offer incentive groups than just Irish pubs and quaint villages. It boasts cosmopolitan cities, iconic venues, and an unforgettable coastline, just waiting to be explored!

This post’s featured image was used under Creative Common License from Anna & Michal.

The Recognition Experience 2016

Las Vegas, Nevada, is a town famed for its buzzing energy, casinos, nightlife, and much more. Last week I had the opportunity to visit this city, not only to experience “The Strip” in all its glory, but to attend the 2016 RPI (Recognition Professionals International) Interactive Conference and Celebration Summit. RPI is a leading resource for global strategic workforce recognition. They are at the forefront of workplace recognition through their focus on recognition innovations and education. The conference hosted a number of well-known speakers in the recognition industry, as well as Human Resource professionals who are experts in the field of recognition.

The RPI Conference kicked off with a “yee-haw” from one of our keynote speakers, the energetic Dr. Paul White, who is a psychologist, speaker, consultant, and author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. Dr. White spoke on the relationship differences between recognition and appreciation, and how communication is key to a successful engagement platform within any organization. Dr. White helped define and compare recognition and appreciation, explaining that recognition and appreciation are not either/or, but both/and in any successful organization of happy and engaged employees.

Another engaging keynote was Ginger Hardage of (SWA) Southwest Airlines, who spoke of using our hearts to drive business, and harnessing the power of storytelling to promote recognition. Ms. Hardage brought the conference attendees to tears on more than one occasion, telling tales of SWA employees who went above and beyond for not only passengers, but their team mates. Ms. Hardage discussed SWA’s recognition and appreciation platform, and spoke of the many ways SWA shows their employees they are valued for all the things they do. Their program is one many companies should aspire to have.

Day two commenced with a presentation from author David Sturt on his book Great Work: How to Make a Difference People Love. Mr. Sturt spoke of appreciation and great work going hand in hand, and being a never ending cycle, and how great work is the kind of thing worth recognizing and appreciating. He noted that there are five significant and observable actions of people who are doing great work, which are as follows; people who do great work 1. Ask the right question, 2. See for themselves, 3. Talk to their outer circle, 4. Improve the Mix, and 5. Deliver the difference. David offered many great examples of individuals who demonstrated great work, keeping the audience engaged and excited.

Overall the conference offered many well-spoken professionals, both practitioners and other program providers, with the sole goal of sharing experiences and wisdom to improve and expand the recognition industry. As research tells us, positive employee experiences foster engagement and drive business results. This conference was certainly a positive experience for me, offering me many opportunities to learn and grow in employee recognition, and to bring back new and exciting ideas for our My Thanks to You platform. We are dedicated to offering our clients the best possible platform for employee recognition, appreciation and engagement.

2015 Rewards Catalogue Holiday Picks

With the 2015 Holiday season just around the corner, our merchandise elves are busy in their workshop filling orders. Our team took some time to put together their favorite picks for this season, sure to please all! Take a look at our 2015 rewards catalogue holiday picks for inspiration for those on your shopping list!

Claudia’s Pick

A Michael Kors watch is always on the top of everyone’s wish list. This gold tone chronograph quartz women’s watch has a 39 mm (1.54 in) case diameter made of stainless steel, a stainless steel bracelet, a beautiful gold dial and a mineral crystal face to ensure this masterpiece stays protected for a long time.

What makes this a great gift: It’s the perfect dressy watch to wear to work or to a cocktail event, with just enough bling!

 

 

 

Denise’s Pick

Did you know that Sunbeam, a trusted leader in heated bedding, also manufacturers heated shawls? These shawls are the perfect solution to keep you warm on cold winter days or in cool office environments.

What makes this a great gift: This is the perfect gift idea for those that find their office on the cooler side during the cold winter months.The Sunbeam Heated Shawl will wrap you in warming comfort throughout the winter season. It has 4 settings that provide a choice of intensity for personalized heat level.

 

 

 Chris’s Pick

The AWS53 offers up to 150-feet of room to roam from the wireless transmitter, with high quality, full, rich sound that lets you listen to music from your MP3 player, AV receiver, smartphone, tablet, or other Audio device wirelessly.

What makes this a great gift: Whether you are working, relaxing or entertaining outside now you can bring your music with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debra’s Pick

This wall plate USB charger ensures that you never have to search for your missing charger cords again. It is perfect for any room in your home, and plugs directly into any existing outlet with no tools required.

What makes this a great gift: Its sleek design makes it a perfect stocking stuffer item!  Two 2.4 amp USB outlets allows you to charge two tablets simultaneously.

 

 

 

Kelly’s Pick

Our Myreward catalogue features a wide variety of officially licensed Blue Jays gear. One of our favourites are these styled, polished stainless steel cuff-links sporting the Toronto Blue Jays logo under a urethane coating.

What makes this a great gift: I have a huge Blue Jays fan on my shopping list and these would be a BIG hit this Christmas especially after their great playoff run this year!

 

 

 

 

Marianne’s Pick

This is a pair of very special earrings that can be worn on any occasion. Be it a casual glamour look, a classic one, or a cool, chic look, this set of rhodium-plated pierced earrings with bezel-set, faceted clear crystal will shine to your style.

What makes this a great gift: These earrings are a perfect addition to any outfit over the holidays and add a festive sparkle. They are also great all year round and would be an ideal gift for that special someone in your life. I have a pair and I love them.

 

 

 

 

 

Allison’s Pick

This soft bundle contains a PS4 console, a PS4 Dual Shock controller, a rechargeable battery solution for your PS4 Dual Shock controllers, and a gaming headphone with built in microphone to communicate with all your friends online.

What makes this a great gift: I have teenage boys. Need I say more?

 

 

 

Brien’s Pick

Handcrafted from earth friendly recycled plastics, this chair has been ergonomically designed with comfort in mind. The Adirondack sits deep with a contoured seat and back, for the comfort you would expect and comes in a dazzling collection of fade resistant colours. It it made with heavier gauge plastic lumber (7/8″ vs. 1/2″), stainless steel hardware, and is completely weather proof  so it does not have to be stored inside.  Additional benefits: No cracking or peeling, No painting or splitting, No rotting. Comes with a 10 year warranty.

What makes this a great gift: These chairs would be great for enjoying the view at our summer place! And no scraping or painting required – I’ll take two!

 

 

 Kathleen’s Pick

This Coach Crossbody is crafted in signature coated canvas with leather trim and features interior and exterior pockets to keep essentials well-organized. It’s adjustable strap creates a custom fit for shoulder or crossbody wear.

What makes this a great gift: This is a great gift idea for that special lady in your life that is always on the go!

 

 

 

 

Jamie’s Pick

The future is now! Move like you have never moved before. The Swagway is the next step in the evolution of transportation. It combines the fun of a skateboard with the ease of use as a motor scooter, and then gives it an extra bit of swag. It’s fun, it’s practical, and it’s as cool as the other side of the pillow. Perfect for urban commutes: the eco-friendly Swagway, is a great alternative to taking the bus. It moves up to 10 miles per hour, and one charge will last for over ten miles.

What makes this a great gift: Simply very cool! What kid, or kid at heart, wouldn’t want one.

 

 

 Alyssa’s Pick

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Universal Visa® Prepaid Gift Card

Your Universal Visa Prepaid Card can be used everywhere Visa cards are accepted for shopping, dining, traveling and much more. So don’t think of it as a card. Think of it as convenient, wallet-sized wish fulfillment.

What makes this a great gift: A Visa gift card is the perfect gift. It’s always a treat to have when shopping the boxing day sales!

 

 

 

 

Whether you’re treating yourself or buying for loved ones this holiday season, our reward catalogue has what you need to complete your shopping!

Fresh Starts: A Coach Giveaway

Ahh, September! Summer draws to an end, beach days disappear, kids head back to school. Sweaters come out for chilly evenings and for many, including the myreward merchandise team,  it feels like a fresh start to the “year”. It is a great time to reflect on your daily routine, re-evaluate and make changes. We’ve compiled a great list of ways to maximize your own September fresh start and to show our gratitude (see #2 on the list) we’re giving away a Coach Double-Zip Wristlet!

  1. Set a morning routine – wake up early to give yourself time to get set for the day. Stretch, drink warm water with lemon, read the paper or simply sit and enjoy the silence before the day truly begins.
  2. Be grateful – Expressing gratitude each day will highlight the joys in your life and make you happier. Be grateful for the little things, the people around you at home and at work, and for the ability to recognize these joys. If you’re interested in new ways to express gratitude at work, we can help you find a recognition solution for your team.
  3. Get organized – Set aside 10 minutes a day at work and at home to get organized. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in ten minutes if you put your mind to it. File those emails, make a to-do list, throw on a load of laundry and empty the dishwasher. You’ll feel better when it’s done, I promise.
  4. Prioritize your health – Hydrate, make healthy choices, get moving! It is all about making wise choices and not letting small setbacks turn into big setbacks.
  5. “Me” Time – Yes, YOU time! We’re often guilty of putting our own quality time aside for the needs of others. Be sure to carve out at least 15 minutes of your day to spend alone, quietly, or engaging in a hobby you enjoy. 15 minutes reading a book before bed, or 15 minutes spent doing yoga will ground you and help you focus on the rest of your life.

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Last but not least, enter our contest by using the giveaway app below. What we need from you is a comment on our blog (please confirm your comment on our giveawap app so we can count it as an entry) and a quick answer to a skill-testing question. You’ll have a few other options to gain extra entries as well. This giveaway will be live until Wednesday, September 30th, 2015. It is open to residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) and residents of the United States of America (excluding Hawaii and Alaska)

 

 

 

Touring Switzerland – The Perfect Adventure

The 11th Annual Meeting Trophy, hosted by the Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau took place this past week in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Switzerland, centrally located in Europe, is a truly magical destination, with the most stunning landscapes, lakes, and mountains a person could hope to see. Switzerland is an amazing destination for any type of incentive trip or conference, offering visitors bustling city districts or a simple country lifestyle, making it the perfect destination for everyone.

Touring Switzerland – Zurich

Zurich is a main hub in Switzerland, and a busy business district. With many different direct transportation options, Zurich is connected to over 150 destinations using plane, train or automobile. While in Zurich, our group travelled to the outskirts of the city to visit Jucker Farm, a working adventure farm boasting views of Lake Pfaffikon and the nearby Alps. The farm produces and sells their own fruit and vegetables, and makes homemade bread and preserves on-site.

Located in the heart of Zurich’s Old Town is a traditional Guild house, Zunfhaus zur Waag. The history of the Guild house is very unique; established in 1315, the architectural style of the building is predominantly Renaissance, however the windows show a Gothic influence. The Guild house’s collection of stained glass paintings and the oil painting by Heinrich Bodmer – depicting the poet and painter Johann Martin Usteri (1763-1827) – are among the most remarkable features of the large building. At Zunfhaus zur Waag we were treated to a traditional Swiss dish, Kalbsgeschnetzeltes “Zurcher Art” mit Butterrosti, which is sliced veal “Zurich style” with fried grated potatoes, a must-try!

The facade of the Zunfthaus zur Waag stands out in that it is much wider than the mainly tall and narrow facades of the adjacent buildings and completely dominates the architectural profile of the square.

The facade of the Zunfthaus zur Waag stands out in that it is much wider than the mainly tall and narrow facades of the adjacent buildings and completely dominates the architectural profile of the square.

Touring Switzerland – The Magic of Lucerne

This breathtaking lakeside city is surrounded by a dramatic mountain range. Lucerne truly encapsulates the best of Switzerland with spectacular scenery, magnificent hotels, world-class cultural attractions and an enchanting city. Our Meeting Trophy event kicked off in Lucerne with a Welcome Reception and Dinner at the stunning Beach Club Terrace of the Art Deco Hotel Montana. Counted as one of the top 10 most beautiful roof top bars by the renowned SI Style Magazine, the Beach Club offers an impressive panorama of Lucerne, capturing the wonder of Switzerland.

Chapel Bridge and Water Tower mark the upper end of the medieval bridgehead city of Lucerne where the waters of Lake Lucerne flow into River Reuss. Originally Chapel Bridge and Water Tower were parts of the oldest medieval city ramparts of Lucerne. The northern bridgehead of Chapel Bridge once lead directly into St. Peter's Chapel. Today, a riverside promenade separates the two.

Chapel Bridge and Water Tower mark the upper end of the medieval bridgehead city of Lucerne where the waters of Lake Lucerne flow into River Reuss. Originally Chapel Bridge and Water Tower were parts of the oldest medieval city ramparts of Lucerne. The northern bridgehead of Chapel Bridge once lead directly into St. Peter’s Chapel. Today, a riverside promenade separates the two.

The following day, a competition kicked off between the guests of the Meeting Trophy with teams from North America, Belgium, Netherlands, Russia, Great Britain, Germany, France and Nordic Countries. We were challenged answer trivia on the city, solve riddles and puzzles, and compete in physical challenges, which included the most entertaining paddle boat race I’ve ever participated in. That afternoon, the group departed by Steam Boat to Alpnachstad and traveled on the world’s steepest cogwheel train to the top of Mount Pilatus. A personal highlight for me was learning to play the Alphorn while atop the mountain.

The new aerial cable-way "Dragon Ride" gives the impression of flying thanks to its spacious interior, cockpit-like design and large windows – a mountain experience that gets the adrenaline pumping.

The new aerial cable-way on Mount Pilatus, “Dragon Ride” gives the impression of flying thanks to its spacious interior, cockpit-like design and large windows – a mountain experience that gets the adrenaline pumping.

Our day ended with a luxury boat cruise around Lake Lucerne, delivering the group for dinner to the Swiss Museum of Transport. The museum offers attractions found nowhere else in Switzerland such as the Filmtheatre, Planetarium and Swissarena, as well as the Hans Erni Museum, which make a simple visit to the museum a truly unique experience.

Touring Switzerland – Road Rally through the Swiss Countryside

Planes, trains and boats; the only way left now to see Switzerland is to drive the winding roads through the Alps… which is exactly what we did! Travelling in VW Beetles, Golfs, and Audis, the teams loaded up for a road rally to visit Interlaken and Bern. With the Swiss music blasting and the top down in our Audi Convertible, we cruised through the countryside taking in the glacier-fed lakes and snow-capped mountain tops. Our first stop on this journey brought us to Interlaken, a town framed by lakes Thun and Brienz and crowned by the UNESCO World Heritage Mountains of Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. After a short coffee break, a tour of the historic Congress Centre Kursaal Interlaken, and some more challenges, we continued on our rally.

View of Jungfrau Mountain from the Congress Centre Kursaal Interlaken.

View of Jungfrau Mountain from the Congress Centre Kursaal Interlaken.

A trip to Switzerland would not be complete without enjoying a traditional Swiss fondue. Located in Affoltern in the Emme Valley, Emmentaler Show Dairy hosts over 300,000 visitors a year to learn the secrets of cheese production. After a delicious lunch sampling homemade breads and delicious fondue, (Fun Fact: Swiss fondue is traditionally made with 3-5 different cheeses!) the competition continued with an obstacle course cheese rolling relay race.

Our final stop of the Meeting Trophy was the capital city of Switzerland, Bern. Driving into Bern, you notice the River Aare provides an opportunity for the ultimate bathing experience; very good, experienced swimmers allow themselves to drift along in the clean Aare while enjoying a view of the Houses of Parliament (a true Switzerland experience). Our final challenge of the competition was a scooter race around the city, stopping at fountains, chocolate shops, pavilions and restaurants, completing various challenges along the way. From flag throwing to chocolate tasting, the Meeting Trophy gave all participants a truly Swiss experience.

Team North America during the 5th and final stop of the Meeting Trophy competition.

Team North America during the 5th and final stop of the Meeting Trophy competition, taken at the Universal Postal Monument in Bern. Photo Credit: Mattias Nutt Photography 

After racing around Switzerland, the teams gathered for a Final Gala Reception and Dinner at Schwellenmätteli to find out the winning country. The Schwellenmätteli group of restaurants stand in a unique location between the course of the river Aare and the woodland, with an unrestricted view of the Bern Minster and across the waters to the Matte district.

Although Team North America didn’t bring home this trophy (Congratulations to Team Russia!), we sure brought the team spirit, fun, and enthusiasm!

Switzerland is a truly amazing destination, and while I was only able to experience a few cities in a few days, it offers visitors a grand combination of the majestic Alps, historic cities, quiet countryside, thrilling and fun activities, and an unforgettable visit.

Panama City, Panama – A Must See Destination

Located in South America, Panama City, Panama is an emerging destination perfect for those seeking a unique destination for your next incentive trip. The word Panama is commonly known to mean “abundance of fishes and butterflies”, and that meaning holds true as no matter where you look, sky to sea, Panama showcases its many species of birds, fish, animals and butterflies. The hot and humid climate makes Panama a favorite destination for migrating birds and animals, as well as retirees from Canada and the United States.Panama City - molas

A Must See Destination

I was welcomed into Panama City for a Luxury Hotels FAM trip, June 3-7, 2015. Copa Airlines was kind enough to provide my flights from Montreal and back to Toronto. While I had often considered visiting Costa Rica, I wasn’t familiar with Panama and all the historical, cultural, gastronomical and adventure facets this amazing country had to offer.  I was welcomed at the gate at Tocumen International Airport and ushered through customs and security to see the Tocumen Royal Saloon VIP Lounge where I sampled my first Panamanian beer, Balboa. A fun fact about Panama and Balboa, not only is Balboa a brand of beer in Panama, it is also their currency (along with the USD), a street and a town. So why Balboa? Vasco Nunez de Balboa was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador who is best known for becoming the first to have seen or reached the Pacific Ocean.

While in Panama I called the American Trade Hotel home. This unique luxury hotel is located in the historical Casco Viejo region of Panama City. Built in 1917 by the Arias family, the five-story luxury apartment building was conceived to also host a bank and department store. The American Trade Hotel, its connecting jazz club, Danilo’s, and meeting space, American Trade Hall, opened their doors in 2013. Each room of the hotel feels Panamanian, with dark floors, made from the exotic wood found in the depths of the Gatun Lake, tall ceilings, and unique furniture pieces. The beds are incredibly comfortable, and each room boasts a unique view of the surrounding UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Pacific Ocean.

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Discovering Panama City

As my hotel was located in the historical Casco Viejo region, I spent much of my free time wandering the streets of the city, captivated by the architecture and the people. Panamanians are very friendly, and everywhere I walked I was often greeted with a pleasant “Hello Lady” or, if noticed trying to get the “perfect picture”, I was guided to just the right spot. Casco Viejo was founded in 1673 after the Pacific settlement of Panama Viejo was sacked by Henry Morgan, its streets are lined with Spanish, French and Art Deco influence, and the many churches, monuments, bars, restaurants, and shops allow for a pleasant and engaging stroll through the streets.

A trip to the Panama Canal and the rainforest are a must see/do while in Panama. Located a quick 30 minute drive outside of Panama City, visitors drive alongside the astounding Panama Canal enroute to Soberania Park and the Rainforest Discovery Center. Panamanian guides are readily available to tell visitors amazing facts about the Canal’s history, of its failures and successes, and of the struggles and triumphs during the engineering and building of the Canal. While in the rainforest we saw howler monkeys, sloths, white-faced capuchins, green iguanas, a baby crocodile and many birds and butterflies.

Panama City plants and animals

A definite highlight of the trip was travelling by expedition boat up the Panama Canal. Speeding alongside giant container ships, and being in the center of nature and human ingenuity was a humbling experience. After the boat ride we enjoyed lunch at the Atlantic Pacific Restaurant at the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center overlooking one of the three sets of locks currently operating in the Panama Canal. Panama City - Panama Canal

Panamanian Food & Culture

For our final evening in Panama City our group was treated to a true Panamanian festival at the Bristol Panama. We sampled “raspao” which is shaved ice flavored with fruit syrups. Our raspao included a taste of Seiko, which is Panamanian vodka. The foyer of the Grand Colonial Ballroom featured displays showcasing Panamanian vendors, and a cooking station with samples of empanadas, chicharrones and patacones, and Panamanian men and women dressed in traditional attire. The hand made “pollera” is a favorite of Panamanian women; this dress is not only worn during the day but also to festivals, weddings, or folklore events. The women’s heads are decorated with “tembleques” made of gold, silver and pearls, but traditionally made with sea shells or coral. A pollera can take several months to a year to make. Traditional outfits for men include straw hats, along with white cotton shirts and trousers.

“Devil Dancers” dressed in red and black striped outfits and wearing scary masks preformed with wooden castinettes between their thumbs and forefingers, clapping and stomping along to the Spanish Guitar.  Our evening ended with an exciting ride on the “Red Devil”, which is one of Panama’s forms of public transportation. This colorful bus had been transformed into a party bus, and took our group through the city while we danced to Spanish pop music under the neon lights.

Panama is a truly amazing destination; I am so thankful for having the opportunity to visit this country and I will certainly be back, next time to stay longer and to further explore the beaches, rainforests, and many landscapes and opportunities this beautiful country has to offer.

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Learn It, Love It, Live It – Building A Culture of Employee Recognition

May 21, 2015 – My day started as most days do, riding the bus to the ferry terminal on my way to work. Most mornings I plug in my headphones and drown out the chatter of other commuters, however today was different. I sat in my usual spot towards the back of the bus, in front of a pair of friends chattering away. After a few minutes key words started to catch my attention from their conversation:

employee recognition, reward, culture, vision and values

And all of a sudden I was eavesdropping, after all I am in the industry for building a culture of employee appreciation, and their words were sounding out loud and clear.

Building a Culture of Employee Recognition

The pair of friends sitting behind me included a man who we will refer to as John Doe, who work for a global IT services company. This week John’s company is celebrating Vision and Values week, and part of those celebrations included an employee recognition ceremony at which John was presented with a gift card from an indirect manager for going above and beyond at his work place. John, and a few other colleagues, are being celebrated for a job well done, for going above and beyond their job description. Carrying on in their conversation John mentioned that he came up with a slogan for t-shirts for their office to celebrate Vision and Values Week: Learn It, Love It, Live it; what a great concept!

Learn It, Live It, Love It

Employee Recognition can come in many forms. From a simple ‘thank you’ to a grand gift, recognizing your peers for going above and beyond while representing corporate values should become part of the culture of your organization. All employees, from top to bottom, bottom to top, should make an effort to “learn it, live it, love it” when it comes to corporate values. After all, Canadians spend on average 36.6 hours a week at work.

Chatting with John really got me thinking about workplace culture, here is a man who has been with this global IT services company for 11 years, who has moved and worked across Canada in various offices, and who, although he appreciates the recognition tokens, feels that more can and should be done for employee recognition. John’s concept to “learn it, live it, love it” was initially a jest, an idea he forwarded to his HR Department never thinking it would go anywhere. However his concept to “learn it, live it, love it” was then forwarded to their Corporate Head office in Japan, and John is now being featured in their international newsletter showcasing this brilliant concept.

How can you Learn It, Live It, Love It and Contribute to Your Workplace Culture

How many of your corporate values can you think of right now? We all need to take the time to not only learn our corporate values, but to live them. Most of us spend 8 of the 24 hours in a day at our jobs, and it’s time to embrace that culture, to incorporate actions into our work day that represent those values, and to love the positive changes we see because of it.

Linking your employee recognition program to corporate values not only reinforces corporate culture, but motivates and encourages your employees to not only do a good job, but a great one. Our My Thanks to You recognition tool provides a forum enabling employees to thank or recognize fellow employees for outstanding performance. Employees can nominate their peers or send an eCard to recognize exceptional behaviors aligned with core values. Our My Thanks to You recognition platform is seamlessly integrated with our online rewards catalogue offering your employees over 1,000+ reward options to choose from. From service awards, to specialized awards, to employee recognition, My Thanks to You is customized to each of our client’s needs and wants. Make My Thanks to You yours today, make employee recognition part of your corporate culture, and your employees will surely “learn it, live it, love it!”

Celebrate Your Employees on Employee Appreciation Day

Every year since 1995, on the first Friday in March, there is an unofficial day marked on the calendar dedicated to Employee Appreciation. This day is an opportunity for companies to show appreciation and recognition for the hard work and dedication their employees show throughout the year. We feel that it is important that employees are shown recognition and appreciation, not just on Employee Appreciation Day, but every day. Training new staff is costly, and having a high turnover rate can have a negative impact on morale and productivity across an organization. At Fraser & Hoyt Incentives, employee recognition is our speciality, and we offer a plethora of recognition tools to ensure that our client’s employees feel valued and appreciated.

How to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Employee Appreciation Day can be a favourite workplace event; we’ve got a few easy ideas to help with your company’s celebration:

  1. Host a company or team wide lunch. It doesn’t have to be costly; a themed potluck can be great for team morale without having to break the bank. Our office hosts an annual burrito day that everyone looks forward to.
  2. Give a token gift – coffee shop gift cards, favors, or themed prizes through your recognition program are great ways to commemorate the day.
  3. Leave handwritten notes – a personal touch can go a long way.
  4. Be sure to plan ahead, and involve everyone on the team.
  5. Take time to compliment or comment on individual accomplishments and successes.
  6. Host a fun competition or game day. Encourage team building and participation across the board.
  7. Try something outside of the office, visit a new art gallery or museum exhibit, go skating or tobogganing or kayaking, or sample a new ice cream shop or restaurant as a group.
  8.  Invest in something the whole office could enjoy year round, a new toaster or coffee machine, or perhaps a ping pong table.
  9. Participate in a team building event for charity, such as a Walk-A-Thon or a Habitat for Humanity Build. There are many great ways to support charities and involve your whole organization outside of simply donating funds.
  10. Have fun! However you decide to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day the point is to ensure your employees feel appreciated and celebrated.

“It’s quite simple really, employees who feel valued are significantly more productive and engaged. We all know how quickly we can lose focus on recognition when work loads and stress are high. Our programs make recognition and engagement very easy, and it quickly becomes part of the corporate culture at all levels.”

Jamie D. Keating, President, Fraser & Hoyt Incentives

How do we support Employee Appreciation Day, every day of the year?

Fraser & Hoyt Incentives provides a range of customized solutions to track, recognize, and reward performance. Established in 1987, our professional services in recognition and rewards are backed by decades of experience and specialist training. In addition to management recognition tools, our offerings include a peer recognition tool providing a forum that allows associates to thank or recognize fellow associates for outstanding performance. Associates are encouraged to recognize their peers when witnessing exceptional behaviour; rewarded behaviours can also be linked to your company’s core values.

On March 6, 2015, you can use Employee Appreciation Day to kick-start a culture of recognition and appreciation within your company. Your colleagues will feel great and the morale boost will help counter the winter-blues – it’s a win-win!

A quick look back and forward to 2015: the year of the relationship

The past year brought a number of changes to the workplace landscape, and 2015 shows no signs of slowing down. Technology is the most visible sign of evolution. Yet the most powerful force of change is not internet speed, operating systems or mobile devices: it is the employee/employer relationship.

Employee retention has emerged as a top issue affecting workplace productivity and profit efficiency. Long gone are the days when employees are simply happy and thankful to have a job.  Today’s smart employee is market-savvy and self-advocating, aware of what specific skill sets are worth on the open market and willing to negotiate, change jobs, or leave an employer altogether if a better offer is available elsewhere. As a result, average tenure has plummeted in recent years, while costs of hiring and training new employees continues to rise.  Read more

Full Steam Ahead: A Steamboy Giveaway

Can you believe it is mid-January already? The myreward merchandise team here at Fraser & Hoyt Incentives wants you to step in from the cold and warm up with our brand new Steamboy giveaway. Before we give you the ‘steamy’ details, we want to thank all of you who entered our December giveaway of a Michael Kors watch. We had a great time watching the entries roll in, and we really wish we could have given every one of you a prize. Congratulations go out to Suzi F, who was the first winner of our blog giveaway series.

Our recognition experts have been hard at work, curating new and stunning products for future contests that range from indulgent to practical and back again.  We love to share our amazing finds with you and give you a small taste of what we offer to our programs.

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