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Ideas, Information, Inspiration (Sep/Oct 2010)


The Only Metric That Impacts Other Metrics…

“Why is customer loyalty and engagement important? The biggest reason is that customer engagement is the only metric that impacts other metrics typically measured by a company. As one industry expert noted, When customer engagement slides, so do a great many other outcomes, including future sales, growth and profit. Obviously, engaged customers are the best customers for a company to have. Eight of ten executives believe their company loses sales each year because of failure to create engaged customers, and 80% say that engaged customers are critical because they recommend products or services.”

• Excerpted from ‘Capitalizing on Voice of Customer,’ Published by Allegiance (@@http://www.allegiance.com)

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Rewards & Recognition

MoShow Giveaway Promotes Maui Jim Gift Card Program

At this year’s Motivation Show in Chicago, Maui Jim will be promoting its recently-launched Gift Card program by distributing 2,000 special sell sheets to attendees at the entrance to the Exhibit Hall. Each sheet will have a card sample with a number on the back of it, and 30 lucky recipients will win one of 30 Maui Jim Gift Cards – twenty $250 gift cards and ten $150 gift cards. All they have to do is stop by Booth #5008 and speak to a Maui Jim rep. If their number matches the winners list, they’ll be handed their Gift Card on the spot. With only 2,000 numbers being distributed, odds of winning are extremely good, so be sure to look for the sell sheets at this year’s Show!

Maui Jim Gift Cards are available in any denomination from $25–$500 for incentive and reward programs. Recipients can select their own style, frame and lens color, redeem their Gift Card at @@http://www.mauijim.com, and their order will ship within two to three business days. “This is a convenient, fun program that lets recipients easily choose their favorite pair of Maui Jim sunglasses, and we now have some of the best pricing and value in the industry by offering up to 50% off of the face value.” Says Corporate Gifts Sales Manager Brett Hatch. “And if a company really wants to make the gift card special, they can add a custom case and cloth with their logo on it.”

• For more information on program details and ordering, contact your Maui Jim rep or call (800) 614-6790.

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IRF Invitational Wraps Up Successful Run at Broadmoor

The 17th Annual IRF Invitational, held May 19-23 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, brought together more than 300 end-users, buyers, suppliers and industry media representatives for three days of networking, sharing ideas and information on key industry issues and enjoying the area’s spectacular scenery and recreational activities. Each year the IRF provides educational roundtable sessions that highlight organizational research and focus on industry insights, trends and the business of incentives. This year’s roundtables were the most heavily attended in Invitational history, covering actionable research that makes the business case for properly designed incentives. In addition to high-energy networking and the annual Silent Auction that raises money for IRF research initiatives, this year’s Invitational was the first to incorporate interactive polling and a corporate social responsibility (CSR) component, the latter of which involved attendees donating hundreds of books and building bookshelves for the Children’s Literacy Center in Colorado Springs. The dates for next year’s IRF Invitational were recently announced. The 18th Annual Incentive Invitational will be held at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV, from April 27-May 1, 2011.

• For more information, go to www.TheIrf.org

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New Survey Looks at Key Incentive Issues in 2010

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) recently surveyed industry professionals, asking them about incentive travel programs, merchandise/non-cash programs and ROI/budget considerations. The most promising data from the IRF’s most recent Pulse Survey show that respondents appear to be more optimistic about the current economic climate than they were in either the Summer or Fall of last year. When asked, “In your opinion, what impact will the economy have on your ability to plan and implement incentive travel programs?” 69% say it will have a positive impact vs. only 33% in the Fall of 2009 and just 24% in the Summer of 2009. Similarly, those who say the economy will have a positive impact on merchandise/non-cash incentive programs increased from 20% (Summer ’09) and 26% (Fall ’09) to 41% currently. Still, one-third of those surveyed predict that budgets for incentive travel will decrease this year, while 37% say they’ll remain unchanged. Things were a little better on the merchandise/non-cash side, where only 22% expect a decline (down from 51%), while 40% predict an increase and 37% say they see no change in budgets. This indicates that although there’s an uptick in optimism about the economy in general, it may not translate into more money for programs – at least not yet.

• For more information on other key issues and trends from the most recent IRF Pulse Survey, go to www.TheIrf.org

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Hewitt Analysis Shows Steady Decline in Engagement

While the economy is slowly recovering, a recent analysis by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing company, shows employee engagement and morale in the workplace are not. Almost half of organizations around the world saw a significant drop in employee engagement levels at the end of the June 2010 quarter, the largest decline Hewitt has observed since it began conducting employee engagement research 15 years ago. This highlights the growing tension between employers and employees, who are showing fatigue in response to a lengthy period of stress, uncertainty and confusion brought about by the recession and their company's actions. Since July 2008, at the onset of the economic downturn, Hewitt began closely analyzing changes in employee engagement levels by quarter for more than 900 organizations globally that conducted annual engagement studies. These studies covered topics such as employee morale, confidence in the organization, career opportunities, rewards and recognition programs and trust in leadership. Historically, Hewitt’s research shows that about half of these organizations improved their engagement levels in a one- or two-year period, while only 15% had experienced a decline. However, the past two years have been more challenging: the percent of organizations with declining engagement has been steadily growing. This trend is particularly notable in 2010. Hewitt’s research shows that 46% of organizations experienced a decline in engagement levels in the quarter ending June 2010, while just 30% saw an improvement. Hewitt’s analysis suggests a clear link between employee engagement levels and financial performance. Organizations with high levels of engagement (where 65% or more of employees are engaged) outperformed the total stock market index even in volatile economic conditions. During 2009, total shareholder return for these companies was 19% higher than the average total shareholder return. Conversely, companies with low engagement (where less than 40% of employees are engaged) had a total shareholder return that was 44% lower than the average.

• For more information on the study, visit www.hewitt.com

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Fuji Introduces First Hi-Res 3D Digital Movie Camera Combo

Fujifilm North America recently announced a new addition to its FinePix REAL 3D system – the FinePix REAL 3D W3 digital camera. The FinePix REAL 3D W3 has the ability to shoot high-resolution 3D photos and movies in 3D HD at 720p, with the help of a new RP (Real Photo) Processor. It also sports a new Mini HDMI port for easy playback on most 3D television systems and an Autostereoscopic 3D Widescreen 3.5” LCD. Fujifilm’s FinePix REAL 3D technology captures true 3D thanks to its use of twin 10 MegaPixel CCD sensors and dual FUJINON 3x optical zoom lenses (35-105mm) that are spaced 75 mm apart to create realistic images that are similar to how human eyes see them. The synchronized control of the twin CCD sensors releases the left and right shutters at the same time. This technology produces a synchronized image with a natural sense of depth and allows easy capture of 3D movies and photos in HD, as well as unique 2D Advanced Shooting modes. The FinePix REAL 3D W3 digital camera will be available in early September 2010 at a retail price of $499.95.

• For more info, go to www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/

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Rewards & Recognition

Forum Study: Recognition, Rewards Help Improve Service

The Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement, a research center affiliated with Northwestern University, recently released a briefing entitled “The Role of Rewards and Recognition in Customer-Oriented Citizenship Behaviors” that includes personal interviews and a survey of more than 3,500 Canadian charter bank branch employees. It notes that managers need to design, introduce and administer fair, consistent and timely rewards and recognition programs at their branch locations. “Our research shows the recognition programs that work the best in the banking industry – and potentially in other service-based industries – are those which recognize employees for spontaneous behaviors that go above and beyond their normal roles on the job,” says Jennifer Rosenzweig, the Forum’s Director of Research.

• The new executive briefing and its companion research study may be found on the Forum’s website at www.performanceforum.org/White_Papers.21.0.html

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Employee Engagement and Enablement Critical

Many top-performing businesses across Europe and the U.S. are already deploying effective employee engagement and enablement programs to mitigate staff turnover and drive performance and revenue as the global business community continues on its path to recovery. In fact, employee engagement and retaining talent were cited as the top two priorities by executives in a recent study by Hay Group. Companies that effectively combine employee engagement and enablement report significantly improved revenue growth, staff retention and employee performance. The top organizations on both engagement and enablement achieve revenue growth 4.5 times greater than their industry peers who ranked lowest in the study. Similarly, companies with high levels of engagement have turnover rates that are 40% lower than companies with low levels of engagement. However, companies that both engage and enable employees demonstrate a total reduction in voluntary turnover of 54%. Hay Group’s research also reveals that engaged employees are 10% more likely to exceed performance expectations. Employees who are both highly engaged and enabled, however, are 50% more likely to outperform expectations. Past studies have shown that the difference in productivity between superior and typical performers is 35%, on average, depending on job complexity.

• For more information, go to: www.haygroup.com/ww/press/Details.aspx?ID=27466

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Human Capital

Mercer Says Employers are Reshaping Talent Management Programs

Anticipating greater emphasis on talent management and competition for key talent, employers are planning to reshape their talent programs as the economy shifts out of the recessionary period, according to the new Future of Talent Management Survey from Mercer. Just over half of employers indicate their organizations either have emerged from the recession and are in growth mode (17%) or are emerging from the recession and preparing for growth (36%); another 26% said that they were never out of growth mode, as their organizations were not significantly affected by the economic downturn. One-fifth (22%) said that they’re still in recession mode. Moreover, most organizations are planning changes to their talent programs in response to the downturn, although they’re at different stages in terms of identifying and implementing these changes. In both the U.S. and Europe, more than 70% intend to make changes to leadership training, workforce training, employee engagement, recruiting, retention, rewards and performance management programs. Nearly as many are planning to make changes to their career and mobility programs.

• To download regional summaries of the Future of Talent Management Survey, go to www.mercer.com/readytorebound

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Dittman Appointments Reflect Trend in Incentive Business

Christopher Mattia, an information technology executive with over 15 years experience in the information services and media industries, has joined Dittman Incentive Marketing as Director, Information Technology. Mattia will oversee all IT functions, including project development and implementation, application development, IT operations and data management. “IT is critical as we move forward – especially in how we adapt, adopt and leverage the new social networking technologies that are driving more of our engagement efforts, as well as tracking and reporting,” says Paul Hebert, Social Media Editor for the Enterprise Engagement Alliance. “Technology is now the connective tissue in our incentive and reward programs.” Prior to joining Dittman Incentive Marketing, Mattia was the Director, IT at the Press Association SportsTicker, overseeing the technology to deliver real-time sports news information services to major media companies. He was previously at the National Basketball Association as Director, Application Development and Data Services. In addition to Mattia’s appointment, Dittman also promoted Marty Doyle to Director of Travel Programs and Brian Carr to Director-Individual Rewards. Doyle has 15 years experience in national and international group travel and will oversee all aspects of the Dittman’s group travel operation. Carr has over 17 years experience in retail merchandising and will oversee all of Dittman’s individual incentive award products, including Great Escapes, Great Rewards and all debit card reward programs, as well as customer care and fulfillment services.

• For more information, go to: www.dittmanincentives.com

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Human Capital

Economic Downturn Transforms Talent Management, Leadership

As the economic downturn begins to intersect with the recovery, Deloitte announced a new report about talent trends in the changing economy based on a full year of in-depth research. This latest report captures ways executives and talent managers have adjusted their workforce and talent strategies to deal with the shifting economic forces. Further, the report identifies six key guideposts for executives to consider as they map out their talent strategies to address the challenges of the changing economy:

  • The problem may look familiar, but the solutions are not. Only 39% of executives surveyed have a talent plan aimed at driving innovation. Two out of three executives acknowledge that workforce planning is not being integrated at both the corporate and business unit levels. And while the recession may have put retention planning on hold, 20% of execs acknowledge their companies haven’t updated their retention plans to take into account a changing economy.
  • There’s a paradox of scarcity amidst plenty. 65% of executives expressed concern about losing high-potential employees and critical talent to competitors in the year following the recession. Nearly half (46%) recall that voluntary turnover increased following the 2001-2002 recession. Nevertheless, only 35% have an updated retention plan in place to keep hold of talent as the recovery strengthens.
  • Companies using the economic downturn as their retention strategy are taking a big risk. Among employees surveyed, nearly 30% are actively working the job market and nearly half are at least considering leaving their current jobs. And more than three out of four (76%) who intend to leave their current jobs cited lower morale at their companies.
  • Understanding your people is as critical as understanding your customers. In ranking the top three retention tactics, in every instance employees chose different (and non-financial) incentives than executives. And while 62% of employees cited a lack of communication from executives during the recession, only 35% percent of execs felt the need to increase the frequency of employee communication.
  • Show me the money – but show me the love too! Among the reasons for leaving current employers, employees ranked two non-financial factors among the top three: job security (36%), lack of career progress (27%) and lack of compensation increases (27%).
  • Follow the market leaders. Companies that described their leadership programs as “world class” are constantly searching the market for the best talent available, with 69% reporting plans to step up recruitment of critical talent. In addition, companies that lead the pack on leadership are experiencing higher morale: 59% report an increase in morale, compared to 21% at competing firms.

• A copy of this report and others in the series are available at www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/press/Press-Releases/1f9729a6e8368210VgnVCM200000bb42f00aRCRD.htm

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Industry Insider

JetBlue Airways, in partnership with Carlson Marketing, has launched “Be True,” a new campaign focused on driving membership and raising awareness of the benefits and enhancements of TrueBlue, the airline’s newly revamped customer loyalty program. The year-long campaign, created by Carlson Marketing out of its Minneapolis and New York offices, will involve email, in-flight, airport, online and out-of-home advertising…. Incentive magazine reports that gift card issuers have been given a slight reprieve from the 2009 Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act that required implementation of new rules and regulations on cards as of August 22, 2010. The U.S. Congress passed H.R. 5502, the ECO-Gift CARD Act, which extends that deadline to January 31, 2011. The ECO-Gift CARD Act allows the industry to sell existing gift cards, gift certificates, store gift cards and general-use prepaid cards produced prior to April 1, 2010, provided businesses comply with the new rules regarding five-year expiration of funds, conspicuous disclosures and fees….The entire All Star Incentive Marketing sales team has been designated as certified Incentive Professionals by the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA). According to Annalisa Jacobs, Director of Educational Training and Development at IMA, All Star Marketing is among the first organizations in the industry to have a fully certified IP sales team. The Incentive Professional (IP) designation is awarded after the completion of a 100-question exam which is primarily based on the Principles of Results Based Incentive Program Design Curriculum….Rymax Marketing Services recently announced an exclusive partnership with ION Audio, an award-winning innovator in home and digital audio, DJ technologies, musical instruments and digital audio accessories. Established to meet the needs of music enthusiasts, musicians and DJ’s, ION Audio has expanded its focus to include innovations in A/V, home entertainment, gaming, computer transfer technologies and computer peripherals….Dennis Borst, President/COO of Patriot Marketing Group, announced the promotion of Danielle Lynch to the position of manager, Gift Card Programs. Danielle joined the PMG Team four and a half years ago as a sales administrator and over the years her responsibilities have expanded to the point where this New Position was created to best describe her contribution to the company on a daily basis….James Kelly has joined PMC as their Eastern Region Sales Manager. James has 20 years’ experience in this channel, beginning at Comp-U-Card as an account manager. In addition, Lisa Lister comes to PMC as their Midwest Region Sales Manager. Lisa has over 12 years’ experience in this channel. She also has been an active member of IMRA, serving on the IMRA board for 3 years, including one year as secretary….Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced the launch of its Individual Incentive Awards Program, the Unforgettable Experience. With the option of five categories and as many as 49 hotels to choose from, this program offers great flexibility in how companies can recognize great achievements. For more information, please visit the Unforgettable Experience awards website at: @@http://www.fourseasons.com/incentivecard

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September/October 2010

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