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Engagement Strategies e-News - February 2010

News Briefs

Enterprise Engagement Alliance

Maritz Buys AEIS

Maritz Holdings, Inc. has bought American Express Company’s minority interest in American Express Incentive Services (AEIS.) As a result, AEIS is now entirely owned by Maritz Holdings and its affiliates, and Maritz executive Mike Donnelly has been named Chief Operating Officer of AEIS. Terms of the agreement were disclosed at press time. Following this transaction, AEIS will continue to operate as an independent entity but will change its corporate name and re-brand itself before the end of 2010. For the past 13 years, AEIS has been operated as a joint venture between Maritz Holdings and a subsidiary of American Express. 

“We are very optimistic about the road ahead,” says Darryl Hutson, AEIS CEO. “AEIS is now better positioned than ever to deliver innovative, value-added products that will help businesses enhance engagement for their employees. Today it’s paramount to ensure that your motivation investment is bringing an optimal return, and our unique DirectSpend process is a key to helping clients do just that. By guiding spend to select merchant groupings, you can ensure that rewards are not only meaningful and motivating, but also driving the behavior that helps meet business goals.” For more information, go to www.maritz.com

Mercer: Engagement a Top 5 Issue in 2010

Mercer's Human Capital consulting practice recently identified the top five issues for organizations to focus on in 2010, one of which is "Mitigate turnover risk and restore employee engagement." Ken Gilbert, head of Human Capital at Mercer, says "2010 will be driven by a new employment cycle: organizations will be looking for ways to successfully rebuild and revitalize their workforces. However, getting it right will require consideration of the factors that have impacted workforces during the global financial crisis and its aftermath." In discussing turnover and engagement specifically, Gilbert says that the skills shortage is far from over, and an increasing demand for top talent will hit much quicker than people realize. Re-engaging demoralized employees who remain in the organization will be critical for restoring faith before better opportunities surface. For employers, open communication and strong leadership will be more important than ever, as business picks up and employees review their options. With morale lower and employee uncertainty about the future potentially high, the need for effective employee engagement will be great. Managing the "change journey" – the organization's changed environment – will be critical to success. Gilbert adds that there's no one-size-fits-all change framework, but offers these tips to help companies develop the capability to manage change:

  • Cement a view of where the organization is and where it needs to be
  • Pay attention to both the "organization journey" and the "employee journey" – not just "what's in it for the business," but also "what's in it for employees?" 
  • Use change levers to effect "people change" alongside "business/technical change." – for example, training, incentives, role design and leadership programs.

View the complete report >>

Foot Locker

The PollStream Enterprise Engagement Meter

In conjunction with PollStream Inc., a leading social software and technology firm based in Toronto, Ont., EEA has also created the Enterprise Engagement Meter (EEM), which resides on the EEA Portal. Unlike the more comprehensive EEI that collects information from an entire management team, the EEM allows any individual to quickly and privately assess their organization's engagement opportunities. The results are instant and there is no charge. "Engagement is a must for any organization motivated to recruit and retain their best employees," says Steven Green, President and Founder of PollStream. "Our partnership with EEA allows us a key role in helping build communities that are more engaged, connected and collaborative." View a sample of the Enterprise Engagement Meter >>

Harco Incentive Solutions

Don't Miss the 2010 EEA Networking Expo!

Attention suppliers and program providers! The Enterprise Engagement Alliance will hold its first annual EEA Networking Expo at the Doral Arrowwood Hotel Conference Center in Rye Brook, NY, June 3-5, 2010. The event is designed to help organizations profit from engaging their key audiences and engineer new ways to use rewards and recognition to drive performance. A slate of interactive education sessions will enable attendees to share the latest and most effective policies, procedures, strategies and tactics in the field of engagement, offering unique, actionable ideas and information they can use to boost performance and profitability, and build relationships with all key audiences. Exhibitors representing the top products, programs and performance-improvement companies will be available during eight hours of dedicated exhibit time, as well as at other networking events and activities during the EEA Networking Expo, to share their extensive expertise with attendees. The Doral Arrowwood is convenient to all major metropolitan areas in the Boston/NYC/Philadelphia/Washington, DC corridor, located only 10 minutes from Westchester Country Airport and 40 minutes from New York's LaGuardia airport. More information about the Enterprise Engagement Alliance Networking Expo >>

Enterprise Engagement Alliance Networking Expo

IRF Releases Trend Data

Last year was a challenging one for the motivation industry, but as 2010 gets underway, it continues to be a vital, multi-billion-dollar business that plays a critical role in engagement, productivity and profitability at hundreds of thousands of companies worldwide. A recent Pulse survey by the Incentive Research Foundation reveals several indications of (slightly) rosier times ahead. While the industry isn't quite ready to breathe a sigh of relief, these results indicate a brightening outlook as practitioners plan programs for 2010. Some highlights from the Incentive Industry Trends 2010 study:

  • 32% of respondents say that budgets for merchandise/non-cash incentive programs in 2010 will increase (either moderately or slightly), while 34% anticipate that budgets will remain unchanged.
  • Planners still point to the economic downturn as having a negative impact on their ability to plan and implement merchandise/non-cash incentive programs.  However, while 34% report a negative impact, this is an improvement over the almost 50% reporting a negative impact a year ago (October 2008). 
  • When asked "What changes, if any, will be made in 2010 with award selections?" 27% of respondents say they will include individual travel as an option in 2010; 22% indicate that the use of debit/gift cards will be increased; and 18% will add merchandise. It should be noted that 30% indicate there will be a decrease in merchandise award value for 2010 programs.

More information about the IRF's Incentive Industry Trends 2010 study >>

Enterprise Engagement Indicator

Towers Watson Study on 'Turbocharging' Engagement

Towers Watson's global research on the factors that increase employee engagement has shown that high engagement results from an array of organizational elements, but two have a particularly strong influence:

  • Senior management's sincere interest in employee well-being
  • The opportunity an employee has for personal development of skills and abilities

In a recent report entitled Turbocharging Employee Engagement, researchers examine the three main drivers of recognition by managers – inclusiveness, communication and trust.  Each factor has important aspects that can power up or power down the effect of recognition on employee engagement. This "virtuous circle" represents one of management's most potent tools for focusing employees on what matters to the enterprise and reinforcing the behaviors that contribute most directly to strategic success. The most powerful car doesn't always cross the finish line first, of course. Driver skill enters the picture as well, as do road conditions and a certain amount of luck. Likewise, employee engagement isn't enough, by itself, to create and maintain a marketplace lead. But, all other things being equal, the organization with turbocharged employee engagement puts itself in a strong position to win the race. Download a copy of the full report >>

Van Dyke Tapped to Head Incentive Research Foundation

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) is pleased to announce that Melissa Van Dyke will succeed Frank Katusak as President of the organization, who is leaving the IRF effective in March. Prior to being named President of the IRF, Van Dyke was Managing Consultant, Employee Engagement Practice, at Maritz, where she helped clients build strategic recognition and incentive solutions that engage, align and motivate employees to higher levels of performance. Before joining Maritz in 2002, Van Dyke worked as a senior consultant at Ernst & Young, LLC. "I'm very excited to be stepping in to this position, because I believe the IRF is doing important work at an important time in an important industry," says Ms. Van Dyke. "Those of us who have been buyers of, providers of, or participants in incentive programs know what a powerful motivational tool they can be. With the challenges of the last year, I believe the IRF is well positioned to do crucial work in advancing the science of incentives and educating buyers, providers and business in general on their importance."

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Insights from ESM e-News

Help 'Write the Book' on Enterprise Engagement!

At this year's Enterprise Engagement Alliance Networking Expo, a group of carefully selected hosted executives and managers in different aspects of engagement will be invited to participate with other attendees in the development of the first ever implementation manual for Enterprise Engagement. This initiative offers a unique opportunity for business executives and managers to learn from both experts and their peers in facilitated discussion groups. The result of the two-day event will be a manual entitled Enterprise Engagement: A Practical Guide to Maximizing Financial Performance Through People that will be distributed free of charge to all attendees. All participating individuals and their organizations will receive a credit in the manual for their participation. The EEA Networking Expo will be held at the Doral Arrowwood in RFye Brook, NY, June 3-5, 2010. The Expo site is convenient to all major metropolitan areas in the Boston/NYC/Philadelphia/Washington, DC corridor, located only 10 minutes from Westchester Country Airport and 40 minutes from New York's LaGuardia airport. More information about the Enterprise Engagement Alliance Networking Expo >>

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In the Current Issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine

The March/April issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine will be mailing soon. Here's a preview of what you'll find inside:

TD Canada Calls 'Wow Moments' a Great Engagement Tool

Karey Stanley, who holds the unique title of Senior Manager, Employee Spirit and Recognition at TD Bank Financial Group, says the company's Wow Moments program is a unique tool – not only for informal recognition, but for talent spotting and creating a unique customer-oriented business culture. Read more about this unique engagement strategy in the March/April issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine. Make sure you get your copy >>

The Enduring Popularity of Gift Cards

Things have gotten so bad in the Gift Card industry that reviewing a company's financials is a necessary step in shopping for a birthday gift or adding new merchants to an incentive program, says Stacey McAllister, VP at RK Incentives and Director of Media Relations at the Incentive Gift Card Council. Recently, McAllister sat down with Nick Balestino, Manager of Award Partnerships at Hallmark Insights; Dana Slockbower, Marketing Director at Rymax Marketing Services; and Joan Travelstead, VP of Business Development at National Gift Card Group to discuss the evolution of this adaptable and accessible motivational mainstay. Don't miss this important article! Make sure your subscription is up to date >>

Is the Traditional Approach to Engagement All Wrong?

Leaders have to drive engagement, says Judy McLeish, Founder and President of McDaniel Partners. Yet, according to Development Dimensions International, only 25% of senior leaders and 17% of frontline leaders are highly engaged. No wonder companies are having a difficult time making progress with broad-based engagement initiatives. To reap the full benefits of engagement, companies must first engage those who lead the effort. Find out how to get leaders more involved in the next issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine.

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News From Selling Communications Inc.

Whitepaper Connects Engagement with Economic Recovery

One of the greatest opportunities to increase corporate profits – and subsequently boost the economy – lies in motivating workforces to improve performance, drive greater customer engagement and ultimately increase revenue, according to a new report from the Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) and the Human Capital Institute (HCI). The Enterprise Engagement Alliance is a coalition of companies and associations dedicated to promoting the importance of engagement, founded  last year by the Human Capital Institute, Peppers & Rogers Group, 1to1® Media and Selling Communications, Inc. Entitled The Economics of Engagement, the report provides a comprehensive analysis of research in the field of Enterprise Engagement and offers how-to information on benchmarking tools that can quantitatively measure the benefits of employee and customer engagement. These measurement tools are critical to demonstrate the bottom-line impact of enterprise engagement, both to corporations and to the economy as a whole, using financial language that senior executives, investors and economists are accustomed to. "One of the most encouraging findings of this report is the revelation that vast reserves of overall performance potential are essentially hiding in plain sight," says Bruce Bolger of the Enterprise Engagement Alliance. "Engaging the people that companies deal with on a day-to-day basis – both internally and externally – in a comprehensive, compelling and connected way will create a result that is more than just the sum of its parts. Naturally, as with any such investment, the return needs to be demonstrated to decision makers, and there's a growing body of evidence in the engagement arena that does just that." Get your copy of the report >>


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About Selling Communications Inc.

Selling Communications, Inc. is a fully integrated, target marketing, media and technology agency that improves results for clients by focusing on the people who matter most. We can help your business grow and save you money by targeting key prospects, getting their permission and strategically integrating your marketing and sales communications with the specific audiences most likely to affect your business performance.

Take advantage of these SCI services to improve your business development:

  • Engagement Marketing Agency Solutions: Identify and get permission to communicate with the people who matter most through an integrated program rooted in permission-driven databases, direct mail, e-mail, Web sites, brochures, newsletters, public relations and sophisticated telephone sales that produce results. Go beyond the traditional sales and marketing approach by providing useful information and resources to build better, more measurable relationships.
  • Target media: Build your brand and bring it directly to your power buyers through our stable of established niche print and online magazines in the sales, marketing and meetings fields (including this newsletter).
  • Integrated Communications Technology: Build permission-based databases through Solata software to effectively communicate with the people who want to hear from you and precisely track the results in real time. Solata is also available to other media companies and marketing agencies seeking to profit from integrated, permission-based marketing and communications.

For more information on Selling Communications, its products and services, contact Jim Kilmetis at 914-591-7600, ext. 229 or send an e-mail to .

Tapping new customers, and keeping those you already have, costs less than you'd imagine...

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