What matters most to millennials at work?

The year 2015 marked a turning point for the millennial generation. Their numbers eclipsed those of baby boomers as a whole, and they now outstrip Generation X in U.S. workplaces. Without a doubt, millennials will be the generation of influence for years to come.

What does that mean for employers? Among other things, they could be facing more turnover than ever before. Millennials already have a reputation for job-hopping, and it appears that they as a group will be keeping an eye toward future prospects. Two-thirds plan to leave their current workplaces by 2020 for new opportunities, according to a survey by Deloitte. Their reasons for leaving are varied, but one in particular stands out: Many feel their employer overlooks or underappreciates their skills and contributions. What’s more, 71 percent of those who plan to leave have said their employer has shown no interest in developing their leadership skills.

How can employers communicate the value of their team members? One powerful yet simple way is to offer tangible rewards that let them know their hard work is noticed and appreciated. Here are three things to keep in mind as you put together your stash of incentives and get the positive vibes flowing.

1. Welcome newbies with gifts

As you know, we have moved well past the trend of handing out cellphones for work and into the era of BYOD — that is, bring your own devices. Tech-native millennials increasingly prefer to access work platforms from their own laptops, tablets, and mobile phones, rather than toting around multiple electronics. With that in mind, what is more likely to resonate with a new employee today is a positive opening statement on his or her first day of work that says, “We’re glad you’re here!” Offer an array of onboarding gifts, including items like a commuter mug, a water bottle, a power bank, a flash drive, and, of course, a nice pen.

2. Ask your workers what they want

Check in once in a while to get a sense of their likes and needs. Design a survey with a mix of multiple-choice and open-ended questions. If you offer rewards your employees really want — say, a new high-end backpack for their anniversary gift — the gesture will mean that much more.

3. Make a big impression with small presents

Whether he raised his hand to tackle an extra assignment, or she convinced an unhappy client to stick with your company, an employee who’s gone above and beyond the call of duty deserves some positive feedback. One way to make these moments stick is to offer a reward. Maintain a stock of small prizes so supervisors have an easy opportunity to recognize excellence in daily work. Useful, totable gifts will make a great impression, such as a utility knife or LED flashlight.

When an employee receives a gift from you, it creates positive feelings. When that gift bears your logo, the gesture goes even further, as it sends a poignant reminder that you do  notice and appreciate the talent and hard work they bring to the team and the organization. With out lineup of HR Gifting Solutions, we can help you find the perfect incentives and rewards to help you spread the love.

Why volunteering is good for business

Walk into a grocery store or coffee shop in any size town and you will see a bulletin board covered with posters promoting a wide assortment of causes, charities and events. Community events can be big or small and take place anywhere that communities get together. And that spells marketing opportunities for savvy business people.

A local business’ success is closely tied into the local community, so it’s important to be an active and visible participant. When you contribute to these activities, you build relationships with like-minded business people who can either become clients or refer you to others who could benefit from your services.

The case for employee engagement

According to the 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, employed adults ages 21-35 who frequently participate in workplace volunteer activities are nearly twice as likely to be very satisfied with their work and career progression. With job satisfaction rates dropping in recent years, employee motivation, engagement and retention are of paramount importance to business of all sizes. A recent report from Network for Good reveals that “Employee engagement through cause is a vital means by which to strengthen employee relationships, enhance employee morale and even build critical skill sets and expertise. Plus, employees are hungry for ways to get involved in cause.”

Help your staff give back to their community and your business is likely to benefit from their increased engagement and productivity.

Smart business call

Companies giving back through “good works” makes very good business sense. These activities stimulate economies, develop community awareness, increase public involvement, and improve quality of life.

When done correctly, community involvement can also address the top 4 business goals of most business owners:

  1. Driving sales – Promote your volunteering efforts through your regular advertising. You can also run your own promotion where a portion of sales is donated to your chosen cause.
  2. Building brand awareness – Harness the marketing buzz around the program and use all public relations and social media opportunities.
  3. Collecting sales leads – Participating in charitable events will give you access to their donor and vendor databases. The events themselves can be used for product sampling opportunities, collecting surveys and general networking.
  4. Measuring Marketing Effectiveness – Running targeted promotions for your cause provides you the opportunity to measure a program’s success in a short amount of time.

Gotta Have Heart

When you are participating in a charity for altruistic reasons, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t benefit from the resulting positive exposure. From your local Alzheimer’s chapter to the YMCA, there is a wide selection of projects to choose from. Look for opportunities that provide you meaningful exposure to a large number of influential people or high profile causes that attract media coverage. It makes even more sense where there is a logical match between your business and the activity. As an example, if you own an automotive repair shop, a tie in with the local Meal on Wheels program makes sense. Allowing staff to choose the cause that is closest to their hearts can also pay off tenfold. They may already have the connections and knowledge needed to participate with their chosen charity in the most effective way.

You should also consider having small promo items on hand to thank volunteers and recruit others to lend a helping hand. A great way to start is t-shirts, a preferred promo in the nonprofit universe. T-shirts are inexpensive and land a powerful branding punch. Other branded items such as pens, note pads, water bottles, caps, microfiber cloths and key chains are great handouts as well.

No time like the present- National Volunteer Week starts in April

National Volunteer Week runs from April 10-17 this year. So it’s the perfect time to make your mark in your community! Your employees will enjoy the opportunity to devote time to a worthy cause and feel proud to be part of a company that promotes the well-being for all.

Remember, volunteerism is a win-win for your community, business and heart.

About the Author

Terry Shatner is responsible for supporting vendor partnerships, product and sales operations at Myron. She is a strategic thinker with demonstrated success in marketing, promotions, the promotions industry, and sales operations in both B2C and B2B markets.

Boost employee productivity through vacations and outings this summer

As a small-business owner, you need to be dedicated to improving your company every single day. Whether this involves showing up at the office at the crack of dawn to chase down suppliers on the phone or cruising across the state to meet the biggest clients in your portfolio, some days as the head of a small company can make it seem like taking just one day off could mean the end of profitability.

While you might be able to burn the candle at both ends, your employees might not have the same business stamina. Instead of working them raw, it might benefit your small business more to give them time off to relax and recuperate from the stresses of daily life. In fact, if you mix in some clever promotional products, you can turn employee vacations into some of the best investments into your small business you make all year.

This is a sure sign that your employees need a break from the office.This is a sure sign that your employees need a break from the office.

The case for breaks
It takes a dynamic, entrepreneurial spirit to start a small business, but that kind of gung-ho attitude isn’t exactly a strict requirement among all employees. In fact, keeping your employees in the office all year round with limited breaks isn’t just unrealistic – it could hurt your productivity.

According to a 1999 study by researchers at Cornell University, workers who took short breaks from their computers made 40 percent fewer typing errors than their counterparts who remained at their workstations.

“We found that alerting computer users to take short rests and breaks improved work accuracy without any reductions in overall keystroke and mouse use,” Alan Hedge, Ph.D., professor of design and environmental analysis at Cornell, said in a statement.

“Workers who took short breaks from their computers made 40% fewer typing errors.”

Moreover, Hedge found that the longer the breaks, the greater the reduction in errors. Their conclusion: Long periods spent away from work actually boost productivity and efficiency upon the workers’ returns.

Encourage fun in the sun
While you probably offer all your employees at least a handful of vacation days every year, there’s no way to guarantee that they actually take these so your small business receives a productivity boost afterward. However, you can use promotional products to serve as subtle reminders that there’s more out there this summer than the four walls and fluorescent lights of the office.

Items like Myron’s Promotional King of the Road Travel Bag serve as stylish yet subtle hints that summer travel season is just around the corner. It’s a small gesture, but having a convenient way to organize all your travel necessities in one carrying case eliminates a headache for many would-be travelers. From there, it’s a few clicks to book a flight, hotel and itinerary in a far-away destination.

If you can’t manage to persuade any of your employees to actually start taking productivity-boosting vacations, you might just have to throw one yourself. Instead of bringing employees in for a day of the regular grind, schedule a field trip or company outing they can bring their families to as well. Just make sure you don’t forget the promotional products to set the right mood for the day. Myron’s series of men’s and women’s customizable T-shirts means you can print different-colored apparel for each of your departments to put a competitive spin on the outing’s softball and pie-eating contests, if you so choose.

Your employees aren’t robots, and any small-business owner worth his or her salt will give them the time off they need to refresh themselves. When they come back tanned and ready to work, you’ll both be thankful for it.

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.

Welcome new employees the professional way

After spending weeks or possibly months searching for the perfect candidate, you want to make sure the person you hire sticks around. That’s why it’s so important to welcome new employees and make them feel appreciated as soon as they walk through the door.

Just like you’d expect a new employee to make a good impression on his or her first day, new candidates are looking for the same from you. Make sure their workspaces as supplied with 4-in-1 Hudson Personalized Notepads customized with both your company’s and employee’s name.

If you’ve just recruited a top talent for a senior position, you’ll need something a little fancier, like the Ambassador II Portfolio that comes equipped with everything you need to impress as an executive on the go.

Check back soon for more news from Myron!

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, Manufacturing.net 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.

How to manage problematic employees

As a small-business owner, you’re probably well aware of how much you need to stretch every penny. When resources are tight, it’s up to you to find new revenue for that next project or room in the budget for more promotional products. Depending on your team, your employees might be your most valuable resource, but what happens when you can’t get them to work to the best of their abilities?

Problematic employees can cause large corporations to stumble over otherwise sound business plans, and the effect is magnified when you have fewer people in a smaller office. If you see any concerning tendencies among your employees that might affect their productivity, it might be time to step in and do what you can to course correct.

What happens when your employees start taking their frustrations out on the office?What happens when your employees start taking their frustrations out on the office?

The passive-aggressive worker
Managers need to know that their questions and directives are being listened to, but Inc. magazine explained that the passive-aggressive worker might employ an “in one ear, out the other” technique. Despite when you say you need him or her in the office or a specific task completed, the passive-aggressive worker might procrastinate until the absolute last second.

Obviously, this can throw a massive speedbump into your small business, which is why Judith Orloff, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Inc. that you need to be very clear with this type of employee.

“The only way is to very clearly say what you need from them and when. ‘It’s very important that you show up on time for our meetings,’ for example,'” Orloff said.

However, Orloff also explained that the passive-aggressive worker also values moving up within the company, so small-business owners also need to find low-impact ways of motivating them. Promotional products like Myron’s Status Crystal Clock are unobtrusive enough to be displayed on a desk, but you can make a big show of awarding them to workers who deserve the praise.

“Know-it-all employees aren’t limited to one specific age group.”

The know-it-all employee
While the passive-aggressive worker might disrupt deadlines and cause delays for deliverables, they might not harm the inviting office culture most small businesses enjoy. However, having a know-it-all on your staff can seriously damage the sense of camaraderie between all of your employees.

International labor research site Bayt.com explained that about 35 percent of employees fall into this category. These workers are often so sure of themselves and their work that they are too stubborn to take criticism, and this can cause friction between different members of your team.

Know-it-all employees aren’t limited to one specific age group, either. Baby boomers who’ve been in the industry for decades might have their own preconceptions about how to do their jobs, while millennials might feel that they have all the answers to working in a digital economy.

Whatever the reason, Bayt.com recommended intervening when know-it-alls start to create friction at the office. However, publicly shaming these workers is only likely to cause them to resent you for embarrassing them in front of their colleagues. Instead, book a meeting room or call him or her into your office so you can have a private discussion about his or her work performance.

Be clear
While problematic employees come in many forms, your response to them as a small-business owner should be relatively uniform. ZipRecruiter urged managers to be explicitly clear with any and all instructions to new workers or those who seem to be taking liberties with their responsibilities with work. If you let these employees know what you expect from them and when they should have it done, odds are you’ll have a much better functioning office than you’re used to.

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