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Our Blog Has A New Home:

May 20, 2010


For the many of our loyal readers out there, we have a new announcement for you! We have found a new home on the web:

In the last few weeks we have been overhauling the look of our blog to make it more user friendly for you. We have added a few extra features such as Social Links (a long overdue add), videos, an incentive news feed and we’ve even taken the liberty of adding a new contact page. All of our older posts and content will still be found at the new site.

What does this mean for our subscribers?

This means that if you were an email or RSS feed subscriber, you will have to re-register. We will continue our blog updates as usual if you are still subscribed to our old feeds…well…you’ll be out of the loop. Subscribing is just as easy as it was before. You can find subscription access on the left hand column of our new page.

Take a look around at our new blog home and let us know what you think! Thanks for your continued reader loyalty!

Air Cleaners: Merchandise Monday

May 17, 2010


When it comes to merchandise awards, some of the obvious big redeemers come to mind in electronics, like flat screen tvs and mp3 players. However, you may be somewhat suprised at the popularity of this item category: air cleaners. What is making these more popular?

One big reason for a lot of people involves the recent H1N1 threat. The use of air purification systems in the home help ease the minds and reduce the risk of airborne viruses like the “swine flu.” Virus scares aren’t the only thing driving the uptick of sales in this product category. The growing rate of individuals suffering from seasonal allergies has also influenced the sales of air purification systems. Using HEPA filtration systems, people are able to reduce the number of allergens in the home significantly.

Seeing how there is a continuing upward trend in home health and wellness, there doesn’t seem like there will be a slowdown in sales of these systems any time soon. Even companies that aren’t traditionally focused on air cleaners are entering the segment in an effort to jump on the sales wagon. According to suppliers, these systems are still considered a discretionary purchase for the majority of consumers. However, industry experts don’t see this upward sales trend slowing down anytime soon.

Office Olympics Inspire Engagement

May 13, 2010


Looking at employee engagement from the angle of boosting morale, look no further than an episode from “The Office.” This episode has Michael out of the office most of the day on an assignment while the remaing staff at the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin are fighting the bordeom blues. They are stuck in a rut and can’t seem to find it within them to be productive. What shortly follows is a series of office games dubbed “The Office Olympics.” What ensues are arbitary games like “How many jellybeans can you stuff in your mouth” to having races with boxes strapped to the racers’ feet.

As a result of the olympics, the “ugh” morale at the beginning of the episode has been uplifted considerably. Everyone in the office is in much better spirits. All the employees had bonded over games and are more engaged with each other as co-workers. 

Did this improve productivity? That is debatable. From casual observation in the episode, the employees don’t really get anything “work related” accomplished. They spend all their time away from their desks and from their work in the name of fun. However it is proven that morale HAS improved. What the episode doesn’t show us is afterwards. Was the staff of Dunder Mifflin more productive the next day? Sure they could’ve spent that time working but their brief break from the monotony of selling paper could have been the release they needed to re-charge and be ready for the next day’s work.

What do you think? Do “Office Olympic” style team bonding events help overall morale and engagement?

Popcorn Makers: The More Fun and Healthy Option

May 10, 2010


The increasing popularity of popcorn makers among consumers most definitely echoed the “Having Fun At Home” theme seen at this year’s Home+Housewares Show. One huge draw for popcorn makers are that they give consumers healthier options for popcorn, taking away the standard overdose of butter, salt and oils.
Many of the new models are replicas of the older nostalgic cart-type models, bringing somewhat of a carnival theme snack experience in the home. These machines have also seen growing popularity in the retail area since the sound and smell of popcorn are effective, sales-generated traffic draws.
So whether or not their using in stores or at home for a family movie night, expect to see home popcorn makers become increasingly attractive to consumers in the near future.

Social Media and Employee Recognition Programs: A Perfect Match

May 4, 2010


Not too long ago, we briefly mentioned here about how you can use social media to treat your employees like rock stars. There isn’t a whole lot of application to-date of incorporating social media into incentive programs. Some companies have touched on this (including our own) but I would venture to guess that you will see these two tools – social media and recognition – will be merged more often as time goes on.

The incentives industry is (or at least should be) very people focused. An incentives company shouldn’t be solely interested in selling its product as much as it is about motivating and driving behavior. The best methods of influencing behavior are designed around what employees want. What makes them tick? What will motivate them to achieve greater results?

As much as the reward influences behavior, recognition behind the reward carries as much weight. We all love that warm fuzzy feeling we received when we get that pat on the back for a job well done. Some of these methods of recognition include verbal praise, an email or even something like an award at the end of  a quarterly meeting (like we do here sometimes).

So what does this have to do with social media?

Like the incentives industry, social media is a very people oriented channel. The most effective social media users are the ones that help promote or mention what other people are doing. Through retweets and blog comments, we give others verbal recognition and praise for their work and ideas. We also use LinkedIn recommendations to give props to our fellow co-workers and/or employees.

Wouldn’t it make sense to combine the two?

Social media is one of the fastest growing tools of communication, bar none. Most active web users are engaged with some social network in some way. Employee engagement (generally speaking) is at a low nowadays. Integrating a social component with your rewards program would enhace your engagement and make the program that much more interactive. Interactivity and the added transparency social media would provide could make your future programs that much more effective.

Employee recognition programs and social media are both very people oriented industries. Shouldn’t they be combined?

Stainless Steel and the Rise of the Deep Fryer

May 3, 2010
The rougher economic patch has effected everything, including how consumers are choosing to dine. Due to tighter budgets and people looking for extra ways to save, households are opting to cook at home more often. It’s not great news for the restaurant industry but it bodes well for home kitchen products. As far as products popularity is concerned, like many other years, stainless steel utensils are highly favored among consumers. In most cases its popularity is attributed to the sleek look. However, according to some industry experts, the decreasing prices in raw materials could be lowering prices and influencing consumer confidence.
What may be the biggest suprise in popular kitchen items is the deep fryer. Despite the typical consumer trend to seek out healthier eating options, this category of products has seen a steady increase in sales over the last year. This is attributed to general improvements to the design of recent deep fryers. These modifications have made it faster, cleaner and just plain easier to achieve desired results in fried cuisine at home. No matter what the health trend may be, Americans will always love their fried foods.

The New Follow, Courtesy of LinkedIn

April 29, 2010


As of yesterday morning, LinkedIn rolled out a new way of company-to-user interaction. In the same manner that you can follow a company on Twitter or be a “Fan” (or “Like” or whatever these kids are calling it now) you can now “Follow” a company on LinkedIn. To learn more about how to follow a company and why, check out LinkedIn’s post here.

The great thing about this new addition to LinkedIn is that it gives a Facebook-like fan concept but applies it to a more B2B friendly setting. I’ve spoken with several people in the industry and it seems to be a general consensus that there isn’t too much B2B utility with Facebook. However, the LinkedIn follow provides the same kind of interaction but directed towards a more appropriate audience.

Yes, this could improve employee engagement as well.

An overwhelming majority of workers in the corporate world are LinkedIn users. However, most only use the site when they are unemployed. Nobody actually checks up on their own company page to see what’s new. For a smaller company with few employees, this may not be an issue. However, for a larger corporation with hundreds or thousands of employees, communication on job postings, new hires, or company news could prove difficult. Providing that your employee follows your company, they would receive updates from LinkedIn on what’s new at your company. The more communication to your workers on what’s going on in the company, the more that could influence engagement. 

Of course you don’t have to follow your own company. One could follow other companies of interest just to keep up with what’s going on outside the walls of your office.

When it comes to Hinda, we keep many people abreast of what’s going on with us and our industry through our many Twitter followers and rapidly increasing number of blog readers. Many of our blog readers are not active Twitter users so how else can they keep up? Following Hinda on LinkedIn. Though many readers aren’t on Twitter, an overwhelming majority access LinkedIn. The LinkedIn follow would give a one-stop-shop for Hinda company updates.

Are you following us on LinkedIn?