Show educators you care on National Teacher Day

No matter the grade level, being a teacher is a difficult job. As federal budgets keep getting slashes, educators contend with shrinking funding for books, classroom supplies and field trips. Add in swelling class sizes and you've got a profession that doesn't seem to offer many benefits. However, teachers continue to show up day after day, putting their hearts and souls on the line for their students.

That's why educators at every level deserve appreciation on May 5, National Teacher Day. Whether you run a charter school, a prestigious college or a simple tutoring service, your teachers need to know that even though their students might not recognize it, they're doing important work. 

You can't put a dollar sign on the value of an education.You can't put a dollar sign on the value of an education.

Credit where credit is due
Sure, teachers get a few months off every summer, but that doesn't means they're lazing around for the rest of the year. In fact, Credit Donkey explained that the average educator works 50-hour weeks. On top of that, add another 12 hours for work that isn't traditionally compensated. This includes grading papers, coaching school sports teams and offering after-hours lessons.

Teachers do all this for students without the expectation of anything in return, so this National Teacher Day, show your educators that you're committed to making their lives a little easier. Because so many teachers bring work home with them, a simple tote bag probably isn't going to provide the support they need. Instead, give your teachers something like Myron's Tri-Pocket Flap Messenger Bag. Even if they're just walking from the car to the classroom, this ergonomic bag can share some of the load of a year's worth of papers. On top of that, the various compartments and securable pockets can keep your teachers organized in their most scatterbrained moments.

"51% of teachers work on Sundays."

A professional look
No matter what the future has in store, it's a safe bet that there will always be a need for teachers. However, many educators need to work overtime and hold other jobs just to make ends meet. According to a survey conducted by the University of Southern California, 51 percent of teachers work on Sundays. Compared to a national average of only 30 percent, this should tell you just how dedicated teachers really are. Add in the fact that 17 percent of educators also worked a second job and it's difficult to tell when the teaching day begins and when it ends.

If you think your educators are starting to wear a little bit thin over all this work, it might help to remind them what they're really working toward. Myron's Personalized 5" x 7" Brushed Aluminum Photo Frame and a special picture – say, of a favorite class or a particularly enjoyable field trip – can serve as a special memento of the true meaning of teaching.

Take some time to think of ways you can show your employees you care this National Teacher Day. Much like standing in front of a class and trying your hardest, a small gesture of appreciation to your teachers can go a long way.

Give back to faithful employees this National Loyalty Day

One of the major differences between major corporations and small businesses is the differing loyalty levels of employees. At larger companies, there might be less interaction with management and less engagement with meaningful work, which can lead to low productivity, absenteeism and upset clients.

Small-business employees, on the other hand, are some of the most loyal workers in the world. According to a study conducted by researchers at Baylor University, 57 percent of employees at business with between one and 49 workers scored in the highest categories for engagement, commitment and – most importantly – productivity.

Since your employees are so loyal to your small business, it might be time to show them how far you're willing to go for them. May 1 is National Loyalty Day, and any small-business owner who has a dedicated team working under him or her should take the opportunity to show employees that loyalty is a two-way street.

This is one sure-fire sign of an employee who might need an expression of loyalty.This is one sure-fire sign of an employee who might need an expression of loyalty.

Recognize success
One of the easiest ways to show your employees that they're more than just worker bees in your eyes is to turn business accomplishments into personal achievements. Closing on a big account could net your business critical revenue, but you shouldn't forget the salesperson at your company who helped make it happen. 

In situations like these, custom promotional products can serve as visual representations of your employees' skills. Don't just settle for old-fashioned trophies that your employees are just as likely to forget about. Instead, try out Myron's Promotional Disco Lights Speaker, which can be customized with up to a 48-character congratulatory message. Every time he or she needs a bit of background music, the speaker acts like a reminder of their successes at your small business. Who knows – it might even push employees to work even harder.

"To improve your employees' moods, you might have to make the first move."

Reinvest in employees
While a targeted promotional product can be the icing on top of the employee appreciation cake, enhancing allegiance among workers at your small business should be a primary goal this National Loyalty Day. However, to improve your employees' moods, you might have to make the first move.

Employees may want to remain loyal to your small business, but if they start to feel like they're stuck in place, that could turn in a hurry. Instead, look into training programs relevant to your industry or individual employees' preferences. If they're interested in learning new skills, paying for all or part of an after-hours certification course might leave the employee with a smile on his or her face all the way until retirement.

3 ways to show some love during National Employee Appreciation Day

As a small-business owner, you probably have your own way of managing your specific group of employees. Some may respond to strict guidelines, while others need a bit of a light touch to get the best out of them. Whatever your management style, it's unlikely that acting the overbearing boss all the time will lead you to much success.

Instead, why not take a second on March 6 to celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day and show your employees that they're worth more to you than dollar signs. In fact, small-business owners who make sure their workers are satisfied with their work experience may even benefit from a boost in productivity. If you need help making this National Employee Appreciation Day one your company will remember, check out these three tips for recognizing and rewarding good work.

Not every employee responds to recognition in the same way.Not every employee responds to recognition in the same way.

1. Save the backhanded compliments
Small-business owners are always looking for ways to make their offices more efficient, and this means you probably have a thing or two that each of your employees can improve on. While it can be tempting to wrap these criticisms in the guise of constructive feedback, Inc. magazine explained that National Employee Appreciation Day should focus exclusively on the positive.

When you start adding critiques onto the end of your compliments, you run the risk of having your employees focus only on the negative aspect of your comment. Instead of undercutting your positivity, only include the good in your comments or feedback to employees. This will keep them from wondering if you're really recognizing their accomplishments or if you're just checking a box on the employee appreciation to-do list.

"If your workers think you're just paying them lip service, you might actually upset them instead."

2. Tie rewards to performance
One of the key aspects of any successful National Employee Appreciation Day is authenticity. If your workers think you're just paying them lip service, you might actually upset them instead. Fortunately, explained that an easy way to avoid this common pitfall is to tie rewards to exceptional performances among your team.

For example, you could engrave an Epic Crystal Clock from Myron with an employee's name and accomplishment so he or she can show off the trophy at work or at home. Rewarding employees for exemplary performance not only makes the recipients happy, but it may even push others to work more efficiently, too.

3. Embrace the momentum
If you're serious about National Employee Appreciation Day and think a few small gestures here or there can help boost employee engagement and productivity, then why limit yourself to one day throughout the entire year?

In fact, small businesses that embrace a culture of employee appreciation turn this one-day event into a philosophy. You can even measure your level of recognition by trying to compliment each employee a certain number of times every month.

Who knows – with kind words and promotional products to woo your employees, you may just turn your small business into a well-oiled machine after all.

Get ready for National Nurses’ Week!

Ever wonder why National Nurses Week always falls on May 6-12? It’s a tribute to the May 12th birthday of Florence Nightingale, who founded modern nursing. She was a true heroine, but so is every nurse, every day. Show your appreciation for the nurses within your organization with some simple gestures.

Make their mealtimes easier
It’s tough for nurses to go grab something healthy to eat–they’re busy tending to others’ health. Myron’s Koozie Fun Lunch Cooler makes it simple to bring meals and snacks from home, and its insulated lining keeps it all fresh.

Help them stay hydrated
On your nurses’ most demanding days (the ones that end in Y!), they’ll be grateful for Myron’s 23 Oz. Frosted Promotional Bottle. Its locking flip top and retractable straw make sipping a cinch, and neon colors mean the bottle’s easy to spot, even on a crowded nurses’ station.

Provide a multifunctional writing tool
The Lifelines Multifunctional Pen was designed with medical pros in mind: It has a capactive stylus that works on almost any touchscreen (a real plus with the push toward electronic records-keeping) and a bright LED light that’s handy for taking notes and instructions, even in a dimmed hospital room.

Show your employees some love this Valentine’s Day

It’s no secret that your customers are the lifeblood of your successful small business, but they’re just one side of the coin. On the other are all the employees and workers you hire to make everything fit together behind the scenes. Some may break their backs to respond to a new client to earn you an extra dollar, so what can you do to show that you appreciate everything they’ve done for your and your small business?

Valentine’s Day might traditionally be a day for couples, but you can take this opportunity as a small-business owner to express your gratitude for the long hours and hard work that your employees put in day in and day out. Valentine’s Day can get a little sticky if you’re not good at handling this sometimes-emotional holiday, so you’ll want to practice a little caution if you plan on holding an employee appreciation event Feb. 14. Don’t worry, though – if you follow a few simple steps, you can make sure all of your employees leave work this Valentine’s Day with a smile on their faces and in their hearts.

The foundation of any successful company is satisfied employees.The foundation of any successful company is satisfied employees.

Love the work
Your employees might have their own plans to swap Valentine’s Day presents with their personal sweethearts, but that kind of gift-giving can make for awkward situations in the office. Instead, EHS Today recommended giving out valentines based on exemplary work from your employees. Have a customer service representative who handled a difficult client? Mention it in a card. One of your salespeople closed on a big contract? Buy him or her a box of chocolates with a note inside that shows how “sweet” you thought their performance was.

If cards and chocolate seem a little too safe for your brand and company culture, think about promotional products that recognize employees’ accomplishments without all the sentimental fanfare of Valentine’s Day. Gifts like Myron’s Vidal Triple Function Digital Pen can be smart and chic additions to any office or home that your workers should be proud to show off.

“Taking some time out of your day to spread some good will among your employees could pay big dividends down the road.”

Rush of emotion
Though the office isn’t the place for romance or overt displays of affection, it still might not hurt to get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day a little bit. If you want to turn this from a general office holiday into one your employees will remember forever, it might take a little creativity.

In a novel new marketing campaign that you may have seen during the Super Bowl, McDonald’s will be accepting “expressions of affection” – simple gestures like calling your mother or hugging your sibling – as payment for their regular line of products. While this might seem a little gimmicky for a group of office workers, taking some time out of your day to spread some good will among your employees could pay big dividends down the road.

Incentivize the gestures of camaraderie by offering rewards for compliments or other displays of Valentine’s Day good will. A brisk handshake could be worth a 15-minute break, while a full hug might be enough for a lunch on the company. Your employees might not be best friends, but little things like this help bring them closer together.

Be sincere
Regardless of how you choose to show your employees that you care about them, it’s critical that you don’t try and overplay your hand. Like your customers, your workers probably also have a sharp ear for when they’re receiving real praise and when they’re being patronized. If you think you might be overdoing it on the appreciation front, take a step back and wonder what it looks like from your employees’ perspective – are you showing them that you care in a way that meshes with their individual styles? If not, you might be doing more harm than good.

Expectations and gratitude are essential parts of employee retention strategies

Many small business find hiring talented employees difficult. Getting the good ones to stick around might be even harder. A successful employee retention strategy is essential to not only attaining excellence, but staying there as well.

However, walking the tightrope between benevolent boss and overbearing manager can be perilous, which is why experts agree the best employee retention strategies feature equal parts setting expectations and rewarding performance.

Laying down the gauntlet
According to Entrepreneur magazine, the very first step all small-business owners need to take on hiring new employees is delineating clear expectations for everything from their performance in the office to whether or not they’re allowed to work from home. Going over the job description and elaborating on areas where you think the new employee might struggle can be a great way of ensuring that you’re both on the same page, too.

The source recommended going over small details about the job as well. Did you hire this person to focus on a specific objective? Are there certain operational wrinkles like returning emails in a timely manner that you want the new hire to be aware of? This is the time to go over all of those issues so you minimize confusion and crossed wires going forward.

Playing nice
While you don’t have to play bad cop when introducing new employees to your business’ way of doing things, explained that when it comes to employees who exceed expectations, the carrot is much more effective than the stick. Paul Herbert, managing director at incentive design consultancy firm I2I, told the source recognizing employees for a job well done is an investment into higher productivity.

“When employees feel recognized by their employer, studies show they are more satisfied in their jobs,” Herbert said. “The best recognition programs aren’t really ‘programs’ at all. There’s no start or end date, only the act of saying to someone – in front of other people –‘You did good.'”

Also, if you want to make the moment feel a little more official, consider giving employees personalized products to commemorate their achievements. Something like Myron’s Crescent Silver Plate Photo Frame gives employees the option to display their award to other colleagues in the office, which might be even more impactful than a kind word from the boss.

3 holiday celebrations around the Myron world

The end of the year can be a stressful time for many small-business owners. Not only do you have to focus on your customers and sales during the holiday shopping rush, but you also need to make sure you have a clear picture of how your next year will play out. Amid all this, it can feel like throwing your employees a holiday party is less of a priority.

But as celebrations from three international Myron offices show, you can throw a fun and festive celebration that doesn’t break the bank and still shows your employees that you really are thankful for all the hard work they do. Get into the spirit of the season and tell your employees through a kicking holiday bash that you’re ready to work together far into the future. Don’t just stick with the tired-and-tested ways of throwing a seasonal soiree, though – take some tips from these three Myron office parties from across the globe.

Myron’s founders made an appearance at headquarters.

1. Myron Corp. Headquarters – Maywood, NJ
What better place to kick off the holiday celebrations than Myron’s worldwide headquarters located just outside New York City? These employees are some of the best number-crunchers and salespeople in the country, and December 16 marked the office’s official holiday party where they’d get their due congratulations.

You might think that office parties are only fun if you get out of your employees’ way, but Myron headquarters decided to turn the event into a series of community games. There was the Holiday Trivia Challenge where teams of workers had to coordinate to correctly answer as many questions as they could from a list of 25. There was also a slow-motion game of musical chairs, where employees were given an object to pass around until holiday music stopped playing – the last person standing was declared the winner.

Of course, what’s the point of games at your holiday party if you don’t have anything to give out as rewards? The Maywood headquarters gave winners Myron products from the Mr. Christmas line, like the Mr. Christmas Musical Carousel Horse in Blue.

And to top the whole night off, Myron founders Mike “Myron” and Elaine Adler personally thanked each employee for their work over the past year.

There was no Silent Night at Myron’s Germany branch.

2. HCE Germany – Saarbrücken, Germany
There’s more than one way to skin a cat, so if you’ve thrown the same holiday party year after year, your employees might be in the mood for a more exciting night out. That’s exactly what Myron’s manufacturing affiliate in Germany decided to do, and judging from the pictures, it was a good choice.

In addition to a live DJ and band, employees also enjoyed a festively themed buffet and cocktail bar. In between dancing and mingling with coworkers, employees were also presented with a high-quality wristwatch customized with the company logo. As a personalized touch, Dirk Hess, managing director of ADLER Vertriebs GmbH & Co., penned a thank-you letter that was inserted into each box.

The Honduras office had a night of giveaways and dancing.

3. HCE Honduras – El Progreso, Honduras
Who says you have to pick between a game-filled night and a dance-heavy outing for your holiday party? Employees at HCE Honduras had the great idea to combine low-key and high-octane get-togethers for a fun and festive celebration.

In addition to a holiday buffet and dancing to live DJs, employees were also entered into a raffle for two high-definition LED television sets, and the top-performing employees in the office were recognized and given awards for their achievements over the past year.

There are dozens of ways you can show your employees you’re grateful for their work this year – just make sure you’ve got the food, the music and the promotional giveaways to make any night one to remember.

4 ways to make employees and customers love National Thank You Month

If you’re one the millions who make New Year’s resolutions, your intentions are probably to start the next 12 months on the right foot. Maybe you’re going to give that diet another shot or you finally took the plunge and signed up for the dance class you’ve been too nervous to take. Whatever the reason, January is an important month for you as a person – but it just might be more important for your business.

January is National Thank You Month, and while this may seem silly, it’s important to make sure that your employees and customers know that you not only care about them, but that you’re not afraid to show it. You might be the nicest small-business owner in the country, but even then it’s not a bad idea to hand out some personalized products as a gesture of your appreciation. If you think your brand could use a bit of a public relations boost, take advantage of these four tips for National Thank You Month.

1. Be specific with employees
After all the holiday festivities, your employees are liable to be a bit burnt out on all the talk of goodwill. However, you want to start your office off on the right foot in the new year, which is why Inc. magazine explained that you should be as specific as possible when it comes to complimenting your staff.

You should have a general idea of how your employees work together, and by picking out and emphasizing their strengths as critical assets to the team’s performance, you reinforce the aspects of your employees that already make them great workers. Whether you choose to give out personalized business gifts or hand-written notes, be sure that they convey a message that’s in-line with the employee’s strengths.

2. Make your workers’ lives easier
Some business owners think that any promotional giveaway is enough to convey a sense of appreciation and gratitude to employees, but the truth of the matter is that your staff is probably looking for something for functional. That’s why Entrepreneur magazine urged all employee appreciation gifts to have some utility in your staff members’ daily lives.

Personalized products like Myron’s Tresenda Courier Zippered Leather Portfolio are great if your employees go on a lot of sales calls or meet with clients frequently. The all-inclusive design is one less thing for your workers to worry about when taking notes on the go, and the professional look only enhances your brand in the eyes of everyone who sees it.

3. Spoil one customer
Keeping your employees happy is one thing, but customer appreciation is a different beast entirely. Quickbooks explained that showering gifts and thanks on one customer might be the most cost-effective way to show thankfulness for all of your clients.

The source recommended taking one of your most loyal customers on a lavish and highly-publicized day of leisure or excitement – whichever makes more sense for your brand. Don’t forget to thank your other patrons, but sending one on an all-expense weekend spa trip can show the the rest that you’re not afraid to spend big on your customers.

4. Target the complainers
Even if you run the most conscientious small business in the world, there are still going to a be some customers who don’t like your service or products. While it can be easy to tune these voices out for the rest of the year, you should take a chance during National Thank You Month to send these serial grumps a sign of your goodwill going forward.

In fact, Entrepreneur explained that turning unhappy customers over to your side is a great proactive stance on retention. Most dissatisfied patrons won’t take the time to email or call you with their complaints – they’ll simply never come back again. That’s why you should send some customer promotional products their way to be proactive.

Why you need to keep your employees happy

As a small business owner, you’re likely well versed in detail-oriented work. Between drafting your business plan and managing day-to-day operations, one missed decimal or incorrect date wrong can spell disaster for your company.

However, such focused managers can leave their employees to fend for their own happiness at work. It’s no longer enough to sign paychecks and expect your top talent to keep coming back to the office with the same passion every single day. Think of employee happiness as an investment into increased production – the more your workers feel like they’re wanted and noticed by higher ups, the harder they’re likely to work.

Happiness means productivity
It’s easy to say that satisfied employees can more easily focus on the tasks ahead of them, but like any small business owner worth his or her salt, you might be reluctant to make major changes without hard data in support.

According to a 2010 study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and published in the Journal of Financial Economics, companies rated within the top 100 in employee satisfaction experienced a 3.5 percent growth in stock prices between 1984 and 2009 – 2.1 percent above industry averages.

For fiscally minded managers, that should be reason enough to do everything you can to keep your workers content. Unsatisfied employees can be difficult to motivate, especially if they don’t have good relationships with upper management. If you’ve been looking for a way to boost revenue without a significant financial investment, this could be the path back to the black.

Show them you care
Now you know it literally pays to make sure your employees feel good about coming to work, but how can you help them avoid frustrations with their jobs? Focus on body, mind and spirit, Inc. Magazine recommended.

Keeping your employees physically fit is one way to boost their happiness, and you can promote healthy lifestyles with Myron’s 30 Oz. Cool Gear® Pure Bottle with Filter – the perfect way to combine your brand with a fit image. Encourage your employees to bring their personalized water bottles into work to save on office supplies, too!

Inc Magazine also urged business owners to collect suggestions from employees on what to change around the office. This will make them feel like they have a say in the things that affect them daily. It can be a risky decision to read these comments out loud, as some may be too unnecessarily negative and not productive. However, if an employee’s idea is particularly clever, be sure to single him or her out in front of the rest of the company. Along with making that team member happy, you’ve also set an example for his or her colleagues to strive for.

Fostering a healthy spirit might prove slightly more difficult, but the source noted that extra vacation or sick days can show employees that you value their well-beings as people outside of the workplace. Don’t feel like this is an obligation though – awarding more personal days on a case-by-case basis might be the way to go if you don’t have much wiggle room.

No matter what you do to show employees that they’re valued members of your business team, it really is the effort that counts. Go beyond traditional anniversary gifts and hand out personalized products that acknowledge your employees for the work they’ve done. Odds are they’ll repay you with more productivity and higher profits, which can’t help but make everyone at the company happy as well.

How to establish an employee recognition program

Recognizing the hard work that your employees do every day has a number of benefits for small businesses. Forbes magazine explained that companies that make a point to thank their employees have better atmospheres and a 30 percent lower turnover rate. Many small business owners may think that a recognition program will exceed their budget, but it doesn’t have to be based on monetary rewards – small acts of thanks or promotional items are widely used for recognition.

“Recognition programs are designed to show appreciation for who the employee is and what they do,” Roy Saunderson, president of Recognition Management Institute, told Open Forum. “It’s about taking time out to connect and say thank you in a meaningful way.”

Use the following steps to implement a fun and effective employee recognition program that will create strong bonds between your staff and keep everyone happy in the workplace.

Banish tenure programs
If you already have a recognition program in place, but it revolves around staff seniority, it’s time to upgrade your practices. Forbes explained that these types of reward systems have no real value for employees or the organization. Sure, you can have a celebration on an employee’s one-year anniversary, but don’t give rewards for simply sticking around.

Instead, a recognition program should emphasize specific behaviors and results. Make a point to thank your staff when they solve a tough problem, sign a new client or deliver exemplary customer service. This will motivate your employees to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, rather than to stay with the company but produce mediocre work.

Get everyone involved
A successful staff recognition program is a collaborative effort. Get your employees engaged in the process from the very beginning, and make the program a company-wide effort. The first step is to have employees brainstorm methods of selection and the various rewards.

“Sit down with employees individually to find out what they prefer; ask them how they’d like to be recognized,” Saunderson said to Open Forum.

Some employees may prefer public recognition, like at a staff meeting or on a bulletin board, while others would like a personal email. Use their feedback to develop an effective reward system that fits your budget and that people can get excited about. If your company is big enough, Open Forum suggested appointing a recognition committee. Staff who participate can be involved in altering the program, selecting recipients and tracking employee milestones.

All staff should be involved in the recognition process. When managers are the ones choosing the employees of the month, quiet team members might get overlooked. Peer evaluation will help ensure that the most deserving employees are being recognized.

Choose meaningful rewards
While your managers or committee members can suggest potential rewards, ultimately it will be up to you to choose prizes and ways to give thanks. For smaller weekly events, a special shoutout or word of thanks can go a long way. You can let the employee take a longer lunch break, or write a company-wide thank-you email. For day-to-day recognition, you can give out cute Promotional Hashtag Stress Relievers. However, you might want to offer something more substantial for events like employee-of-the-month. Jade Crystal Scroll Recognition Awards are an affordable and impressive way to present awards or celebrate big milestones. They’re easy to display on a desk or wall, so the recipient can bask in their limelight all year round. The Orbit Honor Award is another great option that’s easy to personalize and comes in a variety of colors.

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