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You may not have to break the bank to reward your employees this year

A new MarketWatch survey release this week indicates that employees don't need much to feel rewarded during this holiday season.

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Incentivizing School Kids?

Schools are now incentivizing students for higher test scores, college admittance, after school study programs, and even good attendance.  But some parents are now wondering what incentives take it too far. Some schools have fun, experiential incentives, such as a teacher dunk-tank, or a friday afternoon carnival, to acknowledge students' hard work, and incent them to continue the good behavior. Other schools are using cash incentives or expensive material incentives (such as a laptop, or iPad) to reinforce good behavior. Some parents feel that these lavish incentive gifts are going too far.  Do you think kids can handle the same level of incentives offered to their parents? What happened to offering kids a gift card to their favorite lunch spot, or a class breakfast for good behavior. Is this the way we want to teach our kids to learn, or is it okay as long as it raises test scores and ensures entrance to college? Can we incent our kids like adults, or is it teaching them the wrong lessons? Should we stick to small denominations of gift cards, or are the bigger better rewards really the right way? Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment.  
To find out more about parental concerns regarding student rewards click here.

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Small Business Innovation: GoPayment

This week Verizon Wireless and Intuit introduced technology that is changing the face of small and medium sized businesses.  Ever been to your local mom and pop shop, only to discover they are hesitant or unable to take your credit card? Well fear no more, for all of you carrying around cash-less wallets, this new technology will come in handy for you! Intuit and Verizon Wireless rolled out the GoPayment system, a mobile app for a smartphone or tablet, with a small, pocket-sized credit card reader that actually transforms your mobile device into a credit card reader.  Compatible with Android, Blackberry, and iOS the GoPayment system allows businesses to give any customer the option of paying with plastic, instead of having to turn down potential business.  GoPayment allows users to add tips, taxes, and even syncs with newer versions of Quickbooks, which basically means the accounting for small businesses will do itself, if this system is implemented.  This is the answer for small businesses, mobile businesses, or any business that is eager to bring ease of payment to its clients.  How would you use this system? Do you feel secure with a system like this housing your financial information? Do you think it could be used as instant gratification for employee rewards and sale of gift cards? Let us know what you think about GoPayment by leaving a comment!  
For more information on Intuit and Verizon Wirless' GoPayment system click here.

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The Importance of Maintaining Recognition Programs

We all see businesses tightening their belts.  They are cutting back on staff gatherings, even scaling back the services offered within the office (such as fancy coffee machines and extraneous office supplies), but through these tough and uncertain times do not cut your employee recognition program! The formal recognition of positive employee behavior is essential to the success of your business and the satisfaction of your employees.  According to research done by HospitalityNet employee job satisfaction decreases significantly as recognition programs are scaled back or eliminated.  If you do not recognize your employees hard work, they will not recognize the positive parts of their participation in your company.  Check out the staggering numbers in the table below, another fantastic piece of research from HospitalityNet:

This proves that you must recognize your employees, because during these uncertain economic times you want to be able to rely on your employees.  Without them, your business cannot run and be successful, but with a happy, grateful workforce your company can grow and flourish, regardless of the economic climate.  Recognition can be as big as a seasonal staff gathering, and as small as offering a gift card to a retailer an employee shops at frequently.  Whatever it is, make sure your recognition programs do not get cut, it may put your business at significant risk.  
For more information on the importance of employee recognition and the research from HospitalityNet click here.

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Love this Use of Gift Cards – Explore “______” (insert your city or town)

Gift Cards for a local cause Downturned since 2007, our economy has left many towns around the country in need of public building refurbishing, amenity face-lifts, main street store tenants, employers…it’s not hard to look around and see how our home-towns have been effected. For many regions and towns, recovery is on its way, while others are in need of fresh ideas and advocates to arouse the local economy. Historic Sewickley, PA has some pretty passionate advocates looking to breathe life back into their region. They’ve created an “Explore Sewickley” campaign complete with a
website,
Facebook presence and “Explore Sewickley Gift Cards” to promote shopping at the local shops, boutiques and restaurants. Businesses and corporations can also infuse the local economy, helping local businesses thrive, when they provide local-centric gift cards like these as motivation, incentives and rewards.
What a fresh use of gift cards!

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