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Paying Employees to Be Healthy- It Works!

Corporate - 2

There is no such thing as a perfect organization. Employee problems are inevitable. No matter how much scrutiny goes into the hiring process, the reality is there will be many unforeseen problems that will definitely surface only in given situations.

Employee problems range from attitude concerns, under performance, absences, insubordination, and so many other obvious problems, but there is now new concern businesses are taking notice of—poor employee health. If you think about it, this may seem like a personal problem and not something the employer should be concerned of, but a closer look will show a direct relation between increased business spending, lower profits, and poor employee health.

Organizations spend a great deal of money on employee health insurance premiums. Each employee is entitled to a health insurance. Studies have shown a considerable increase in insurance costs paid by employers over the past years, and the increase is due to poor lifestyle practices that result to poor health and preventable diseases. Imagine having to pay thousands of dollars for health premiums on illnesses that can totally be prevented. If you were the employer paying thousands on something that can be prevented what would you do?

Yes, you guessed it right. The answer is to prevent these health concerns from happening in the first place, so you don’t need to spend so much on employee health premiums. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done. You can’t force your employees to hit the gym regularly and eat healthy food. You can’t force them to quit smoking or join wellness programs if they don’t feel like it. One of the biggest employee problems is definitely their personal health.

Since you can’t force employees to be conscious about their health, there are now organizations that are paying their employees to join wellness programs! Yes, they pay people just to join such programs!

Would you like to do the same? Here’s how you can start

There are great incentives you can offer your staff if they participate in physical activities, nutrition seminars, and exercise programs. You can offer monetary incentives or other tangible items like gym gear, gadgets, or gift certificates. By doing this, employees will be more encouraged and even challenged to join in and work for the prizes. Make it really fun and interesting for the people. Don’t promote a boring workout session that no one will ever bother to join. Make it fun and interesting; highlight the incentives up for grabs.

Track the difference in spending between health care premiums and the incentives you will be giving away. You will be surprised to see that you will save so much at the end of the year, and gain so much satisfaction by seeing healthier staff in a healthier work environment. Slowly, you will be able to lessen one of your biggest employee problems. To top it off, healthy employees will also be able to finish work faster, so more work could be done, and the OT hours you’re paying will decrease.

Of course, this should still be voluntary. Make sure you ask staff to journal their participation, and make the necessary systems to ensure that employee attendance and participation is monitored consistently. Develop a criteria for rewarding incentives, so that you are able to reward participants fairly. Encouraging employee health could be one of the best practices you can develop in the organization.

Photo Credits: Flickr Creative Commons


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4 Ways to Reward Star Employees without Spending Money

Rewarding employees for a job well done is always a good way to keep them motivated. Some companies feel that employee rewards need to be monetary based, which is why they forego rewarding their people completely. That is a no-no, as you don’t want to de-motivate productive employees. Most businesses may not have enough funds to provide monetary rewards, but that doesn’t mean that there is no other way to reward people for good work.

Rewarding employee isn’t all about giving money. There are actually many ways to show your people that you appreciate their hard work. Here are a couple of ways for you to reward great work without spending a ton of money.

1.     Work from Home

More and more people are now longing to work from home. When an employee has done a good job and you want to reward him, consider giving that person a chance to work from home. This is a great reward that will allow people to do their work comfortably, even in their pyjamas. They can work wearing and play with their kids at the same time. They won’t have to spend for the daily commute to and from work, too. The best part is the company will save money in terms of electricity and internet bandwidth. Good work is rewarded, the company saves money, and productivity isn’t affected. Everybody is happy.

2.     New Title

Some employees strive on their title, so one of the employee rewards you may want to consider is giving the individual the right to boost their current title. Let them choose a title that they want but be the one to approve it. This may seem like such a tiny gesture, but to some this is very meaningful.

3.     Flexible Schedule

A lot of employees dream of having a flexible schedule at work. Some prefer coming in to work early and leaving early, while others prefer coming later and don’t mind leaving later. If an employee has been performing well, consider rewarding him with schedule-flexibility. For instance, if they want to come in to work an hour earlier, then they can leave an hour earlier. In addition, you might want to consider allowing people to check in and out of work multiple times a day, as long as their work is completed on time. Again, this may seem like a small gesture but for moms who have to pick up their kids at school, or for professionals who are taking extra classes on the side, this may be the best thing that you could ever give them.

 4.     Good Parking

Who doesn’t appreciate a good parking spot? I know I do. Consider making a star employee parking area so that everyone knows when a particular employee is being rewarded for good work. This will certainly make the person feel good, especially with the recognition they are getting.

There are many more ways to give employee rewards without spending money. Consider any of the options we have for you here, or think of others that you think employees will appreciate. Remember, it is always important to give people recognition for good work to keep them motivated.

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Remember These Tips if You Don’t Want to Lose Paying and Loyal Customers


As a business owner, you may be so focused on attracting new clients that you end up neglecting your current customers. This is a big mistake. Getting new customers is 10 times more expensive than keeping the ones you already have! This is why it is important not to neglect the customers you already have.

How can you make sure you aren’t neglecting them? There are tons of ways to do that, but these four tips are the ones you shouldn’t forget:

Develop a Customer Retention Programme that Works

A lot of business owners think that they will automatically retain all their customers if their product and customer service is great. The thing is this is only true at the beginning. You’ll need to change your strategy, as you stay longer in the business. Find out what type of incentives and add-on products your customers would like to have, and then offer these to them. Create an effective retention programme that sends specific promotions to frequent buyers, high-spenders and everyone in between, and don’t forget to give them incentives for purchasing your products.

Don’t ever misjudge the Role of Retention in the Growth of Your Business

The retention department of your company shouldn’t’ just focus on appeasing customers who want a refund. They should also have a proactive strategy in place, so that problems could be identified before you lose a customer. Think of it this way, out of 10 customers who want a refund, less than five of them will call, the others will just throw the product and look for something better. You immediately lose customers, and you don’t even know it! Don’t be passive when it comes to customer satisfaction. Reach out to your buyers and ask them what they think about your product, then consider their suggestions to make the necessary improvements.

Leverage on the Power of Social Media

This is a great tool to utilize when it comes to communicating with your customers. Social media can help you increase customer retention if you do it right. To start, build a fan page, and create a custom hashtag for your brand on Twitter. Answer comments on your company’s FB wall and diffuse rants of unsatisfied customers by attending to their needs online. Remember; always reply to comments whether good or bad. When you can pinpoint who your loyal customers are, send thank you emails along with coupons and other incentives to make them feel appreciated. It is important to pay attention to your customers who have social media presence because these individuals have the power to praise your or criticize you online.

Offer the Right Promotions

Not all promotions are effective. The right promo depends on what you’re selling, the target market, and the media you are using. You can use special discounts, loyalty programmes, and promotional gifts but all these should be tied to your brand’s image. For instance, if your product is a book on recruitment and employee management, then promoting it in Facebook might negatively affect your credibility. You’re better off with Linkedin.

Communicating actively with your customers will pay off and benefit your business greatly. An effective customer programme translates to greater customer loyalty. Follow these tips to ensure success when it comes to retaining your customers.

Photo Credits: Flickr Creative Commons

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What Employee Reward Strategies Should You Focus on this Year?


Starting the New Year right will reflect on your business’s profits. This is why it is important to start the year with a bang and continue on to the rest of the year. One way to do so is by knowing what corporate reward strategies will help ensure company profitability for the year. In addition, it would help you to know what changes to make in your employee benefits programme in order to boost productivity.

 3 Corporate Reward and Employee Reward Strategies for 2013

1. Trust in Your Employees

It is understandable that you would want to micromanage everything, but you have to remember that you hired those people because you believed they could do the job they are tasked to do. Tell them the results you’re expecting, and that’s it. Don’t hover. Keeping them from doing their jobs isn’t going to be good for business, so you need to have a little faith. One of the corporate reward strategies to focus on this year is to place trust in your employees and reward those who perform and deliver.

2. Focus on Retaining Your Top Performing Employees

Hiring new people is always a costly and tedious process. Why waste a lot on this when you have top performers in your company? Employee retention is one of the most important strategies that you need to concentrate on this year. To keep your top talents happy, it is important to have an effective corporate rewards programme in place. Let your employees know that they are valuable to the company and that you appreciate all the work they do. This will push them to work harder and will prevent them from jumping ship. Give irresistible incentives and challenging goals, such as a cool gadget, spa vouchers, or a holiday trip. Just make sure the rewards you give will be worth the extra elbow grease.

3. Wellness Programmes are Booming

Your employees must be fit and healthy to do their job. You know that, right? The question is how can you do this? Well, there are numerous ways you can keep your team healthy! Health and fitness programmes are all the rage now, some applicants even prefer companies that offer this type of incentive. Offer yoga classes, incentives for people who ride a bike to work, quarterly check-ups and stack up your pantry with healthy goodies. Whatever your budget is, you can find a perfect wellness programme for your company.

Focusing on these corporate reward strategies will help you start your year right. Just as your customers are important, your employees are too. They are the backbone of your business and without their hard work, your company will not be as profitable. Don’t forget to give rewards to your employees, especially if they have earned it.

Photo Credits: Flickr Creative Common

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Offering Smoking Cessation Programs for Your Employees

Smoking CessationDespite the government’s active campaign against smoking, it has remained to be the leading cause of complicated diseases and premature death in the country. Close to 100,000 people die in the UK each year due to smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer, chronic pulmonary ailments, and heart disease.

According to the Office of National Statistics, close to 10 million adults are currently addicted to smoking, with most smokers coming from the employable age bracket. Though the said number is nominally smaller than before, it is still quite alarming that despite the health hazards posted by smoking, many people still fall prey to it.

Various studies have already confirmed that giving up smoking is not only good for your health, but also prevents premature death. Many people want to quit smoking, but due to the highly addictive nature of nicotine, most of the time, their self-cessation attempts fail.

Encouraging employee to quit smoking and lead a healthy lifestyle can help in boosting productivity and also lessen sick leaves. Companies are highly encouraged, therefore, to set up smoking cessation programs.

Opening Smoking Cessation Programs

The UK government – through the National Health Service (NHS) – heavily subsidizes smoking cessation programs. In England and Wales, there is even a specific agency, which addresses this particular concern – the Stop Smoking Services. This program covers all aspects of smoking addiction rehabilitation, from pharmacological aids to counselling.

Employers can collaborate with the government to provide smoking cessation programs for their smoking employees. Usually, it entails only little to no cost at all on part of the company. Managers can require their workers to attend group sessions and individual counselling to help them to quit smoking.

Karla, 27, is an employee in Lancashire, and started smoking at the early age of 13. Her company has partnered with NHS recently and presently, she is now enrolled in a cessation program which holds community sessions every weekend. The community session is held in a location near her home, making it more accessible for her. Once every two weeks, she also consults with a smoking cessation advisor, to discuss her progress.

Alternatively, you can check with your insurance service if they offer such programs. Many companies are subscribed to health insurance services that offer smoking cessation programs as part of their health compensation packages. Not many employers know about this, and the free service offered by insurers are usually not maximised. Inquire with your health insurance service to see if these programs are available.

If cessation programs are not covered by your insurer, you can look for other program offerings that can help employees to quit smoking. Various nongovernment organizations offer programs that create personalised plans for employees, which can guide them through the process without the extra cost. There are also many UK charities established for this particular concern, such as QUIT and SMOKEFREE.

Offering Incentives for Smoking Cessation

Aside from opening cessation programs for your employees, you could also consider offering monetary incentives for non-smokers and those that are enrolled in cessation programs. Though this can entail additional costs, your company can save immensely in the long run due to the improved health of your workforce.

In addition, you can extend assistance for employees who need cessation medication and nicotine replacement therapies.

Encouraging employees to quit smoking is a win-win situation for your company and your employees, resulting to a better working environment and increased productivity.

Photo Credits: Flickr Creative Commons

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UK Government to Force Brands to Release Data

UK Government

The UK government has recently announced that there would be several brands to be forced to release data, following a reported slump in the implementation of Midata, a new government-sponsored program that aims to allow consumers access to the information collated by brands for the purpose of marketing.

Midata, which went live earlier this year, wants to enable citizens to see what is behind the marketing strategies of companies, helping them to make informed and wiser consumption choices as regards products and services.

The government initiative was intended to give consumers more control on their various transaction data, with the end goal of fostering a transparent and open business environment.

According to Jo Swinson, minister of Employment and Consumer Affairs, Midata is all about “empowering consumers” and ensuring that they can also reap benefits from the data being collected by companies that the latter use for marketing purposes.

The UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has partnered with major brands including British Gas, Google and Lloyds Banking Group, to develop and start up Midata.

According to the said department, the government would target several brands, explaining that many companies have been failing to comply voluntarily with the government’s proposal to publicize the progress of the open data policy.

Brands to be forced to release data include companies that are not participating in the Midata initiative, and are refusing to provide consumers with consumption and transaction data.

BIS said that companies would be given until September 2014 to support the government’s initiative voluntarily. If the companies don’t comply, the government will release the list of brands to be forced to release data. BIS also warned that new legislations will be passed to prosecute companies that don’t comply.

In a consultation conducted last summer, the BIS revealed a document containing several measures meant to strengthen Midata. One of the proposals is to create a law that would compel service providers and suppliers to provide customers a copy of their consumption and transaction data, if ever they request it. The said proposal said that the companies will only be compelled to issue data for their customers and its use would be restricted.

Such law is widely seen as a shift in the UK government’s approach to data regulation, from favouring voluntary agreements towards imposing strict statutory laws. According to BIS, it will act swiftly on these proposals to ensure the success of the Midata initiative.

Chris Combermale, executive director of Direct Marketing Association, says he is open to the idea of the government targeting brands that aren’t very transparent with their data and security policy. The rising clamour of consumers for access to data should already be addressed by private companies, Combermale said, explaining that the government’s initiative for openness and transparency is highly laudable and would even result to greater trust on the part of consumers.

Midata would also create stronger ties between the consuming public and the private sector, ushering an era of close partnerships between producers and consumers, BIS explained. With trust in companies regained, it could even boost economic activity, the government added.

Photo Credits: Flickr Creative Commons

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Beware of Tax Anomalies Hidden in Employee Benefits

As the market for competent employees tighten, many employers are offering better benefit packages for employees. However, companies and reward professionals should be aware of legal issues attached to every reward strategy that they use, especially when it comes to taxes. Several employee benefits have varying legal implications. Employers must be aware of these little nuances, less you want your company to end up in a pile of civil suits and charges.

5 Possible Tax Problems

  1. Issues in funding benefit packages– There is no reward strategy available today that doesn’t entail any expenses. Legal anomalies come in the picture when the perks offered by the company require reimbursements, or when employees need to spend their own money and have it reimbursed by the company afterwards.

    Mobile phone contracts can be a good example. When companies sign a large-scale contract from a phone provider, this contract is usually exempted from national insurance and tax. However, when employees get separate contracts for themselves and have the company foot the bill afterwards, the tax exemption does not apply and several other complicated requirements for reimbursement are needed.

  2. Salary sacrifice schemesSimply put, salary sacrifice schemes take place when an employee “sacrifices” a part of his total cash remuneration in exchange for certain non-cash benefits. To illustrate, an employee could opt for a £40,000 annual cash remuneration with no benefits, or choose to avail a salary sacrifice scheme wherein he gets less than £40,000 a year, but receives essentially the same amount deducted from his salary in kind through benefits, such as childcare vouchers.

    Due to recent changes in tax rules, the salary sacrifice reward strategy could lead to future confusion. Different benefits obtained from the salary sacrifice scheme are subject to varying rules. Varying household income brackets also have an effect on the benefits.

    For example, under the new rule, if an employee opts for the salary sacrifice scheme to avail of child benefit vouchers, he could potentially lose the benefit if one of his family members earns more than £60,000.

  3. Cycle to work schemes – This is another reward strategy that often confuses both employers and employees. The government provides certain tax incentives for employees who cycle to work, but the tax incentives only apply when the bike is owned by the company and not owned by the employee. The employee should also use the bike to work at least 50 per cent of the time.
  4. Flexible benefit programmes – Companies should take extra caution in the wording of employment contracts if they decide to offer flexible benefit programmes. Whenever the employee opts to trade in a particular kind of benefit for another type, the said change should be included in the contract. If not, the company might be compelled to still give out the original benefit to the employee, as it’s the one written in the contract.
  5. Maternity leaves – Companies should also take extra care when handling maternity leave benefits. The law requires employers to give expectant mothers and those who are planning to adopt a baby a total of 52 weeks of leave credits and 39 weeks’ worth of pay. However, in case of surrogacy, only the surrogate mother is entitled to maternity benefits and not the mother who will raise the child.

There are many legal issues concerning benefit packages. What is important is for employers and employees alike to read the fine print and review relevant labour laws before entering an agreement. In case legal anomalies ensue, it is best to ask help from labour law experts immediately so as not to complicate the situation.

Photo Credits: Flickr Creative Commons