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Friday
Dec122014

Holiday Bonuses: A Poll of What Employees Want – and What Employers Give

Forget the Party and the Gift Cards, Cash Tops the Wish List

Express recently released the results of two polls on holiday bonuses revealing that what employees want and what employers are willing to give are often different things.

In an online poll, employees and job seekers were asked, “How do you wish your company showed appreciation to employees?” Twenty-seven percent said “cash bonus,” and 13% said “pay raises.”

Express received responses from 230 individuals who identify as “job seekers and those new to the career world.”

How Do You Wish Your Company Showed Appreciation to Employees?

  • Cash Bonus – 27%
  • Pay Raises – 13%
  • Days Off or Shortened Holiday Hours – 9%
  • Gift Cards – 5%
  • Gift Items Other Than Money – 1%
  • A Holiday Party – 1%
  • Other – 1%
  • A Combination of the Above – 35%

In a separate online poll, business leaders were similarly asked, “What type of holiday bonus will you give your employees this year?” Express received 400 responses. Most said cash, but 21% said, “We will not give holiday bonuses.” In addition, of the seven percent who chose “other,” 27% self-reported answers like “no holiday bonuses ever.”

What Type Of Holiday Bonus Will You Give Your Employees This Year?

  • Cash – 34%
  • We Will Not Give Holiday Bonuses – 21%
  • Gift Cards – 12%
  • Other – 7%
  • Extra Days Off – 3%
  • Tangible Gifts – 3%
  • A Combination of the Above – 19%

Cash is the top choice among employers, meaning some employees will be satisfied this holiday season. But many more will not, particularly those working for an employer who offers no form of a bonus. Gift cards, popular among employers, are not as popular among employees.

“During the holiday season, it’s important for businesses to show their appreciation to their employees. It can be disheartening for an employee to feel unappreciated, yet our poll indicates that more than a fifth of employers won’t give their workers anything this holiday season. You don’t have to be extravagant about your holiday bonuses, but it’s important to show recognition. As one respondent told us, ‘A thank you note will suffice,’” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express.

“Showing appreciation is investing in your employees. It improves morale and increases loyalty. It’s good for business. So even if you’re a business that’s struggling through difficult economic times, be sure to say thank you. Even the simplest gesture can go a long way and make the holiday season that much brighter for the people who make your business possible.”

How do you plan to show appreciation to your employees this holiday season? Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday
Dec122014

Peak Performer’s Life: Emotional Detox

This week on Peak Performer’s Life, Walter Bond continues his message on making the most of your “off-season” and how important it is to becoming “bigger, stronger, and faster” in both your personal and professional life.

According to Walter:

“I know you want to get bigger. I know you want to get stronger. I know you’re pursuing excellence, but you know what? Let’s take a little time to celebrate. There’s something in your life that you can celebrate.”

How do you take time to celebrate? What effect does it have on your personal and professional life? What effect does it have on the people around you? Let us know in the comments section below.

New messages each week!
Walter Bond and Peak Performer’s Life is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals. Don’t forget to check back each Wednesday for a new message from Walter Bond! If you missed an episode of Peak Performer’s Life, visit the archive to catch up.

About Walter Bond
A former American professional basketball player, Walter Bond’s NBA career included 153 games with the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons. Now, Walter takes what he learned from his life on the court and translates it into motivational and educational messages for thriving businesses and careers. For more information, visit WalterBond.com.

Friday
Dec122014

Back to Basics: Be a More Effective Leader in 2015

Improvement is crucial in staying competitive in an ever-changing business environment. However, sometimes improving is easier said than done. To become a more effective leader in 2015, it may be time you go back to basics.

Focus on Yourself

Before you can be an effective leader, you must first be able to lead yourself. Take a self-assessment to determine what kind of leader you are—and be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. No one is perfect, and even the greatest leaders in history had weaknesses. You may not be able to change your weaknesses into strengths, but you can see them as learning opportunities. Lessen your weaknesses and build your strengths by focusing on what you’re good at and surrounding yourself with colleagues who complement you. One personal characteristic that can be a morale killer is being too hard on yourself. Your team will notice your negativity and it may spread throughout the office. Focus on being better to yourself and then turn to your team to lead them to do the same.

Read Up on History

Staying well-read is a valuable tool when leading an organization. And although it is wise to read up on leadership books and listen to business podcasts, it can be just as helpful to “read up” on your competition. Pick your five closest competitors and learn their history. What are some of their greatest triumphs? How did they overcome certain obstacles? What are the biggest mistakes they’ve made? By learning from similar organizations, you can borrow methods or avoid their pitfalls. And while the age-old saying, “know your enemy,” is still applicable, the flipside is just as valuable—know yourself. Take the new year as an opportunity to read up on your company’s history, including what/who built it into the organization it is today. Before you know where you’re going, it is important to know where you’ve been.

Expect the Worst

The most difficult aspect of trials and hardships is the unpredictable. When a project fails or an issue arises, it often occurs when you were expecting the opposite. That’s why problems carry such a heavy burden for the parties involved. When you expected a win, a loss can be devastating to a team—and sometimes hard to recover from. Though it is good to have high expectations for your organization, it is also great to operate under Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. No one can predict the future, but you can plan for the worst. When developing your yearly plan or employee development techniques, try and picture every outcome, including personal shortcomings, project holdups, and employee turnover, as well as simple solutions for each problem. Should these issues arise, you and your team will be able to push past them and get back on track.

Empower Your Team

U.S. General George S. Patton once said, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” One of the most effective leadership techniques is empowering your team with self-worth and self-esteem. Giving your team the tools and freedom to overcome obstacles the way they see fit is one of the surest ways to build a team that will follow you anywhere. Moreover, according to a Gallup survey, only 45% of men and 50% of women are satisfied with the recognition they receive at work for their accomplishments. The 50-55% of workers who aren’t satisfied with recognition may not be engaged in meeting goals in 2015. Scare tactics and fear may work in the short term, but leading by developing your team through motivation and encouragement is the best way to get them to buy into your organization’s vision.

Regardless of your achievements and shortcomings this year, 2015 is a fresh opportunity to take the reins of your team and be a more effective leader. By mastering these four techniques, you will be on your way to a successful business year. What do you do to ensure you are being an effective leader? Let us know in the comments section below!

Friday
Dec052014

Making the Right Turn

Most change and improvement comes in small steps and minute increments. I grow tired of politicians, critics, and commentators who respond to good ideas by proclaiming, “That suggestion won’t solve the entire problem.”

I have a friend and colleague who is a well-known author and speaker. He is fond of explaining, “One hundred 1% solutions are as good as a 100% solution.” Long-term success rarely comes from the grand-slam homerun or the 100-yard touchdown run. It, instead, comes from moving the runner to first base or the football down the field.

Recently, I read about an amazing breakthrough improvement made by United Parcel Service. UPS saved over $25 million in a decade, delivered more packages in a shorter time, and improved safety while lowering their carbon emissions’ impact by simply routing their trucks to cut out left turns. An enterprising person at UPS discovered that by using the computer to establish more efficient routes that incorporated a series of right looping turns instead of left turns, which force drivers to cross traffic and wait for lights to change, the company cut costs, improved safety, and increased profits.

Now I can hear the gloom-and-doom critics asking, “What does $25 million over 10 years really mean to UPS?” Any time you run across someone who thinks $25 million doesn’t matter, just tell them to make that check out to Jim Stovall, and they can reach me via the contact information provided below.

The breakthrough in the right-hand turn policy is not just the $25 million, the improved efficiency, the increased safety, or the lowered emissions; it fosters a culture of thought, exploration, and improvement. If you can get a group of people to stop criticizing every thought or idea that doesn’t solve the whole problem, and get them to start looking for 1% improvements in their own sphere of influence or scope of work, you can change the world.

Great ideas build upon one another. They come about when average people think and act in extraordinary ways.

As you go through your day today, look for the 1% right turn in your own world.

Today’s the day!

Thursday
Dec042014

Peak Performer’s Life: The Off-Season Road to Success

This month on Peak Performer’s Life, Walter Bond begins a new series of discussions on the desire to improve. During the next few weeks, he’ll share his unique insight on this topic each Wednesday in a new motivational video here on Refresh Leadership.

Today’s message, the first in the series on the desire to improve, Walter discusses “the off-season road to success.”

According to Walter:

“Pro athletes have an off-season, why not you? Have you ever thought about it? … Could you imagine what you could do with your life if you got five months off?”

What could you do with an “off-season?” What changes could you make in your professional life? In your personal life? What affect would some time off have on your business? Let us know in the comments section below.

New messages each week!
Walter Bond and Peak Performer’s Life is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals. Don’t forget to check back each Wednesday for a new message from Walter Bond! If you missed an episode of Peak Performer’s Life, visit the archive to catch up.

About Walter Bond
A former American professional basketball player, Walter Bond’s NBA career included 153 games with the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons. Now, Walter takes what he learned from his life on the court and translates it into motivational and educational messages for thriving businesses and careers. For more information, visit WalterBond.com.