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Inventive Incentive Programs

To motivate and retain employees, and generate high performance, employers need to use incentives. There has long been discussion as to whether noncash rewards is a better motivator than cash rewards or vice versa. Again and again research has shown us that most employees are not motivated solely by the amount on the paycheck. However, many employers are still using cash rewards as a sole motivator or as the prime motivator instead of considering more financially aware options such as noncash rewards.

Maybe you, as an employer have thought about updating your incentive program but just never got around to start that project. Here follows some advice and basic information that could help you get started.

What Should be Rewarded?

Ask yourself what behavior you, as the employer, want to reward through an incentive program. Do you want to reward employees for the effect of their performance on the bottom line, or on how they live company values? This question can be divided into two categories: performance-based rewards and value-based rewards.

Performance-based rewards – for example exceeding sales expectations – can easily be rewarded with hard cash. This means you are rewarding behaviors that translate into an economic benefit for the company. Using performance-based rewards can be good when you want to meet specific goals and generate a lot of business, however, these types of rewards can easily create a competitive atmosphere amongst employees.

Value-based rewards can be more subjective. They acknowledge behavior such as teamwork or traits such as ability to build morale, and they don’t have to be cash-based to work effectively. Value-based rewards are good for creating and establishing a strong company culture and help long-term future goals.

Which Rewards Should be Given?

Realize that every employee is different, and therefore prioritize different things in life. Some will be motivated by a higher salary and some will be motivated by working part time.

It is important that you understand your employees and what motivates them. To do this look at both demographic and psychological factors. For example: an entry-level employee with a lower income level might have more basic needs and might prefer cash, but an experienced and well established employee earning a higher income might prefer something with trophy value that enhances their self-esteem.

To explore these psychological factors, simply ask employees what types of behavior they would like you to recognize, and how. A survey takes out the guesswork, and employees will appreciate the fact that you asked.

Communicating the Rewards

People have a tendency to repeat a behavior when they are rewarded for performing in that particular way. How well they are motivated is a function of how clear the connection is between rewards and performance, and how valued the rewards are.

How well the incentive program is communicated is vital in making the whole project actually function. The rewards for specific performance or behavior should be clear to all employees. For example: if you are using performance-based rewards to motivate sales staff to reach certain call quotas, it should be fully clear to the employees how many calls are expected of them. They should also know what happens if they don’t reach the call quota, or what happens if they reach it with great exception.

The simplest way to communicate the incentive program is through creating a company policy, which shows the specific behavior, what goals to reach and what will be rewarded for reaching them.

The Power of Noncash Rewards

Let’s examine the power of noncash rewards. Maritz, a sales and marketing service company focused on employee motivation, recommends using non-cash rewards because they are clearly separated from pay. Employees treat cash, no matter when it is offered, as pay. This makes the reward less of an incentive tool and more as a form of compensation for hard work already done.

A Hay Group research representing about four million employees worldwide, shows that some of the most common reasons for leaving an organization are connected to nonfinancial issues. These include: lack of career development opportunities; poor work climate; lack of challenging work; direction of the organization and lack of recognition. To work closer with these issues might lead to stronger employee retention.

My own experience with this topic has shown me candidates will leave long term career positions with highly paid benefit packages and great salaries to try out new positions and assignments. When I interview candidates, and the topic of compensation comes up, most of our candidates answer that they are flexible dependent upon the circumstances of the available position. Also, when discussing why they left their old job, many of the candidates talk about the environment and the atmosphere or specific assignments and tasks rather than the compensation and benefits

Conclusion

I hope this article has given you some advice and information to help you get going on the project of updating your company’s incentive program. More information about this subject can be found at these links:

http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/compensation/Articles/Pages/NoncashMotivator.aspx

http://www.rewardsdirect.com/direct/module/pdf/NonCashRewardsAreBestForPeformanceImprovement.pdf

http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/apr2009/ca20090424_868872.htm

Also, check out DanielPink’s presentation “The Surprising Science of Motivation” at TED(can be found on Youtube or at www.Ted.com).

HenrikLindqvist

Staffing Intern

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Success Indicator

The Success IndicatorHere, at the end of the year, Monroe Personnel Service, LLC & Temptime is evaluating what has gone well, what hasn’t gone well, and we want to “kick up the success meter a bit”.  Here’s a visual guide created by MaryEllen Tribby, founder and CEO of WorkingMomsOnly.com She also shares an inspiring story…

“A few months ago I spoke at an event that Steve Wozniak also spoke at. As you can imagine, when it was time for Steve’s session, it was jam-packed. Packed with attendees, vendors and all the other speakers.about her dinner with another successful entrepreneur, Steve Wozniak….

As I sat there and listened to Steve poignantly share the story of Apple and his relationship with Steve Jobs, I was enthralled. He started from their middle school years and went right up until the present, after Steve Jobs’ passing.

It seemed like he did not leave out a single detail. He just talked. There was no power point presentation, there were not even note cards — he just told his story from his heart.

What struck me the most was not Steve Wozniak’s extreme brilliance or his exuberant passion.

No, what struck me the most was his overwhelming sense of gratitude. His gratitude for having the opportunity to make the world a better place. To help us all to be able to communicate with loved ones, to run our businesses better and to have an enhanced life.

That evening I had the opportunity to sit with Steve at dinner. This was one of the smartest individuals I have ever met, and he was literally thanking all of us at the dinner table for allowing him to create some of the best technology in the world.

This experience prompted me to go back and examine a chart I created a year ago about the characteristic traits of successful people vs. those of unsuccessful people.

I have enhanced that chart and added traits that I believe to be some of the most important because nothing in life is satanic.

This chart was inspired and composed after meeting and working with some of the smartest, most successful entrepreneurs in the world, many of who are dear friends.
The following is that chart I compiled of characteristics, traits and behaviors of successful people vs. unsuccessful people.

Drum roll please . . .

The Success Factor Indicator

Successful People
Have a sense of gratitude
Forgive others
Accept responsibility for their failures
Compliment
Read everyday
Keep a journal
Talk about ideas
Want others to succeed
Share information and data
Keep a “to-be” list
Exude joy
Keep a “to-do/project” list
Set goals and develop life plans
Embrace change
Give other people credit for their victories
Operate from a transformational perspective

Unsuccessful People
Have a sense of entitlement
Hold a grudge
Blame others for their failures
Criticize
Watch TV everyday
Say they keep a journal but really don’t
Talk about people
Secretly hope others fail
Horde information and data
Don’t know what they want to be
Exude anger
Fly by their seat of their pants
Never set goals
Think they know it all
Fear change
Take all the credit of their victories
Operate from a transactional perspective

If you are ready kick up the success meter a bit, make a conscious effort to eliminate the traits on the right hand side of the chart above.

Hey, none of us is perfect but as long as we recognize and identify where we need to improve and continually strive to get there — greater success will follow.”

Hire Diverse Personalities

“Diversity” is a crucial word in workforce.  In fact, there are many companies promoting diversity in their policies. Monroe Personnel Service, LLC & Temptime also accepts various people as our employees.  Even in this small office, each person has quite different personality and we often influence each other in good ways for work.  It’s probably easier to hire and manage employees who have the same kind of personality.  Still, the reason that hiring various kinds of people is said important is that there are several benefits of having them in the workplace.  Today, we’ll share the following article to maximize their potential.

The Secret to Successful Hiring and Retention: Embrace Diverse Personalities
by Linda Finkle (Incedo)

No two people are exactly the same. We all have our own traits, attitudes, and capabilities. You may be able to do one thing better than another person, but it doesn’t mean that you are absolutely better—we all have varying strengths and weaknesses. Everyone is unique in his own way. Given this fact, every business must understand this as they go about the process of hiring and retention of their staff.

Working with people of diverse personalities and work habits may be a challenge. A manager must be able to maximize each one’s potential in a way that one person will compliment the other, thus allowing a team to work in harmony. You can never expect everyone in your team to be exactly the same, to work in the same pace, and exhibit identical behavior. Though, you can set your expectations high in terms of work quality, you need to understand that each employee may be better in one area than another and vice versa.

Managers need to look at staff diversity in a positive way and embrace each one’s uniqueness to compliment the entire team. But this does not mean tolerating bad behavior. No. It only means accepting each one’s strengths, weaknesses, and skills and using it to everyone’s advantage. This is a very important consideration in staff hiring and retention rate.

Different Personalities of Employees and How to maximize their Potentials:

  • The helper type. These are staff who are always ready with a helping hand, they enjoy the feeling of being needed and appreciated for their service. Their personality tends to bring out the best in their co-workers. Managers must be generous with kind words of affirmation to keep this type of people in helping others and performing well at work.
  • The creative type. They explore their deepest passions and pour it into their work. They may seem sensitive, but they just want to be understood for what and who they are. They can stimulate other people’s creativity in projects and activities. A manager must learn to maximize their creativity and accept them for their uniqueness.
  • The quiet-observer-type. They are the quiet ones who would just sit in meetings, intensely listening and paying attention to details. They are self-motivating, are often really creative, and even brilliant with their craft. Managers must learn to see through their quiet behavior and appreciate the brilliance that lies beneath. They don’t need to be forced to speak-out in a big group, just allow them to quietly learn and perform at their best. As a consequence of their shy and quiet behavior, these types of employees may also harbor negative emotions, instead of speaking to their co-workers, or yourself, to straighten out a problem. Make sure you talk to them once in a while, and encourage them to speak up about difficulties and problems they may have.
  • The aggressive type. They want to be the best, and thrive on leadership and challenges. They may seem to boss people around, so managers need to look out and keep them guided without killing their enthusiasm to get things done. They can also be confrontational and exhibit a strong personality.

All these traits are gold in the hands of a good manager, but it may be destructive otherwise. During the process of hiring and retention, managers and business owners must learn to understand the personality of their employees and how they can complement each other.

Getting the Most Out of Networking

nervous

By Kayla Bayens

Networking can be a scary and stressful thing no matter how many times you do it. Especially if you happen to be in those fields that cater to those of us with social anxiety such as the technology fields. But there is no need to worry, even with your heart racing at one of these events as you try to schmooze you can still come out on top. Here are just a few of my pearls of wisdom on how to get the most out of a networking opportunity even if you might have social anxiety.

Nurture Existing Contacts

You never know what they future may hold. That truth carries over to the people around you as well. Your best friend in college may find themselves as upper management in your dream company. You and your former coworker may end up starting a business together because you kept in touch. Or an idea you held onto for a long time might finally be brought to life because you reached out to an old friend. Relationships are the biggest thing you need to focus on when networking. Not just creating and cultivating new ones, but maintaining old ones. Don’t neglect people because you feel like they can’t do anything for you. Networking isn’t about that, its about creating a web of connections that you can always fall back on. Whether that be for support, connections, collaboration, or advice.

Set Goals

You can’t achieve something if you don’t know what you are going for, so set clear goals for yourself. Take 20 business cards and don’t leave the event until all of them are gone. Decide you won’t leave without having made 5 meaningful new connections and setting up at least 1 meeting. Its really not a hard thing to do. However you first need to know what it is you are looking to get out of networking. Are you looking for a job? Or a business partner on a new venture? To increase your current business? Maybe you are on the other side trying to find a good person to hire. Whatever your situation, they need to come with goals. So sit down and spend 10 minutes deciding what those are and which ones are the most important.

Business Communication Duplicate modelKnow your story, make it stand out

You are you’re own best salesperson. Literally no one on the planet knows who you are and what you can do more then you do. So be confident in what you are selling. You are awesome, you are amazing, and you are going place! Before the event spend 10 to 15 minutes standing with your legs shoulder length apart, your back straight, and your hands on your hips. This is called a power pose and is proven to boost yourself confidence. Use this pose as you practice how to introduce yourself. Keep you’re introduction short so that its easier for both you, and the person you are meeting, to remember. Think of it like an elevator pitch for yourself. Something you can say in 30 seconds that explains who you are. Wither that be what you do, what you are looking for, why you are at the event, or just even who you want to be.

Customize every conversation

Now I know I just told you to have a pitch memorized but now I’m telling you to customize it. You should know your elevator pitch so well that you can tweak it as needed. Make the conversation personable from the beginning. If you don’t you’ll start to unconsciously sound robotic in your introductions and that will have an effect on the tone of the rest of your discussion. Have different little tidbits prepared for those their in suits, those their in casual clothing, artists, engineers, etc. Try and create something that will engage the person from the very beginning. I know it sounds like a lot of work, because it is. But the people you are meeting will take notice of the extra effort and you’ll be highly rewarded for it later on.

Smile & Mingle
shutterstock_111058529
Lets say say you come to the event by yourself. Who do you approach? Well the easiest people to approach and start a conversation with would be the people standing by themselves, much like you. If everyone is in groups already then pay attention to body language. Groups that all already know each other and just want to catch up with form closed shapes and be turned inward to each other. Groups open for people to join will be an open ended shape and make eye contact with people approaching. If you have some very social butterflies at the networking event they tend to make their groups more welcoming by making eye contact and smiling before moving to open the group to you.

Once you have selected your target then comes the introductions. Remember to smile as you firmly shake their hands, and repeat their names as they are given. The repetition will help you remember their names when you are talking to them. Make sure to stay focused on the conversation happening through active listening (something I can go over in a later post if needed). Ask questions for more information or details, or just to engage those in the group with the conversation happening. List more then you talk. I know that seems counter intuitive but alot of people when they get nervous just talk about whatever pops into their heads. Instead take in the conversation and be thoughtful with your responses and questions. Contribute to the discussion going on but make sure its in a meaningful way even if that means bringing in another perspective to something being talked about.

business-networking-meetingLastly, take notes. Its weird I know but you will need it. Maybe the conversation gives you a great idea, or something is mentioned you want to look more into. Heck you can even use it to take a few quick notes on what is being talked about or who said what to use later in your follow up emails. Remember you can never have too much information, but don’t let the note taking take over and keep you from the discussion.

Follow-up within 24hrs

Its best to work fast while you have someone’s attention. For this I suggest that the people you are meeting that seem like the most promising contacts, set up a meeting somewhere outside of the event right there and then. Arrange to get coffee the next morning, to get lunch, or to meet up after work for drinks. You need to strike while the iron is hot to make sure you can get the most out of the experience while you are still fresh in their minds. Now this won’t always be possible especially if they are like me and have so many things going on that they need to sit down to look at their schedule. In that case you should send a follow up email the next morning suggesting you all meet up at one of the activities I mentioned above to talk more. Make the message personable and reference specific things for the networking events conversation that you want to follow up on. This will trigger the memory of the person you are emailing and make it more likely that you will get a positive response. Plus its a gentle, nice way of reminding them who you are from a sea of faces they probably met at the event.

 

Evolve Your Beliefs and Evolve Your Career

Sometimes it’s necessary to see where we are in order to be able to move forward.  Have you thought about what holds you back from reaching your career goals?  All we really have to offer the world is our attitude (this is my belief).  I believe it’s useful to examine my attitude and adjust it as needed on a daily basis.  As I do this, my belief structure naturally evolves as I learn what’s important to me, what I can do to contribute to the health and well fair of my community and how my contribution might be translated into an income.

Geoffrey James has described some beliefs he has identified as henderances to successful careers.  He has written this under the title: 5 Toxic Beliefs That Ruin Careers.  As you read his post perhaps you will see where your beliefs are holding you back from living and working they way you would like….

5 Toxic Beliefs That Ruin Careers

The Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament is, in my opinion, one of the best business books ever published.  One passage, in particular, contains a world of business wisdom: “As a man believes so is he.” (23:7)

In the past, I’ve written in this blog about the beliefs that make people more successful.  However, I’ve observed that there are five other beliefs that consistently make people less successful. Make sure you don’t subscribe to any of these

1. My self-worth is based on what others think of me.

Some people define themselves based upon how they guess their boss, co-workers, relatives and friends see them. When they are convinced that others think poorly of them, such people lack the self-confidence necessary to consistently take action.

2. My past equals my future.

When some people experience a series of setbacks, they assume that their goals are not achievable. Over time, they become dispirited and discouraged, and avoid situations where failure is a risk.  Because any significant effort entails risk, such people are then unable to make significant achievements.

3. My destiny is controlled by the supernatural.

Some people believe that their status in life–or even their potential as a human being–is determined by luck, fate, or divine intervention.  This all-too-common (and ultimately silly) belief robs such people of initiative, making them passive as they wait for their “luck” to change.

4. My emotions accurately reflect objective reality.

Some people believe that their emotions are caused by external events. In truth, though emotions are determined by the perception of those events, combined with preconceptions about what those events mean. Such people find it difficult or impossible to “get out of their own heads” and see situations from another person’s viewpoint.

5. My goal is to be perfect or do something perfectly. 

Because perfection is unattainable, the people who seek it are simply setting themselves up for disappointment. Perfectionists blame the world (and everything in it) rather than doing what’s necessary to accomplish extraordinary results.  That’s why “successful perfectionist” is an oxymoron.

If you’re suffering from any of these five beliefs, I strongly recommend expunging them in favor of better beliefs. I explain how to do this in this post “How to Be Happy at Work” (in the post, I call them “rules”, but that’s the same thing as “beliefs.”)

 Geoffrey James writes the “Sales Source” column on Inc.com, the world’s most-visited sales-oriented blog. His newly published book is Business to Business Selling: Power Words and Strategies From the World’s Top Sales Experts. @Sales_Source

Community Spotlight: An Artist for the Ages

By Kayla Bayens

All of us here at Monroe have always been great fans of the arts. Our fearless leader, Debra, is a singer in several groups including the Supper Club Six! Our always hardworking bookkeeper, Michael, was and still is a musician. I was in a choir for 10 years, played the alto saxophone, and have been working in photography for many years. Heck even some of the robots I’ve created made art as their function.rich_close-up

So when I say that we know true artistic talent when we see it, you should believe me. Or don’t and look at the gallery below for yourself. Either way you should be well informed about Richard Sigberman. He is an amazingly talented artist that has graced San Francisco with his presence for many many years. I’ve had the immense pleasure of getting to meet him through my membership with the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Alliance group (check out the Friday group, its the best!).

Now you might be asking why is an employment agency doing a post about an artist? Well I would think it boils down to this. No matter your business you need a way to reach more customers, to maintain your current customer relationships, and to expand your network. Something that Richard has proven extremely gifted at doing through his illustrations. So, a not so shameless plug, you should really check out his website and talk to him if you are thinking about doing anything from an image for above your front desk to holiday cards or graphics for presentations.

But we understand that getting to know an artist and their process is very important when making the decisions of, not only if to use them, but what would be the best way to use them. Since for most of us the art we use for our business needs to be functional and pass a message across. To help with that some I’ve recently spent some time with Richard Sigberman and tried to help peel back a few layers of the veil of mystery, I hope it helps lead you to the right decision.

Tell me a little bit about when you decided to go “pro” in the sense of when did you decide to dedicate yourself to your art. Give us a little example of what that meant to you. (What pushed your artwork from amateur level to professional?)

I had wanted to “go pro” since I left college at age 20 , but was shackled by a lack of courage. Still, I kept making art while I had other types of jobs. At age 31, in 1983 , I got a break: a sort of position as a newspaper illustrator at the Peninsula Times Tribune in Palo Alto. There I happily worked for 3.5 years illustrating articles for all five editors in any style I wanted, as long as it was in black and white. The Business section in particular appreciated my art. This is when I knew I wasn’t going to look back, and art would be my full time career.

Was there an artist you admired when you were young that inspired you to be an artist yourself?

The artists I admired were mostly illustrators and comic strip artists of the early twentieth century: Aubrey Beardsley, Alphonse Mucha, Windsor McCay as well as Rick Griffin and Victor Moscoso of the late 1960’s San Francisco “underground ” cartoonists.  I sort of combined those influences.  

Do you remember the first painting you did that you were really proud of? That painting that made you say, ‘Yes, this is my calling; I am an artist’

The first picture I did that made me realize I was serious was created at the end of my freshman year of college in Albany, NY.  I had mononucleosis and had to rest, so I had a lot of time and few distractions.  I created a pen and ink psychedelic mandala, putting much more time into it than I had any previous piece.  I knew i had stepped it up a few notches.  I am, incidentally, self taught. 

Was there a moment or a decision you made in your career that you feel was a personal success?

The moment when I felt personal validation if not great success was getting that job at the newspaper. This was the type of work I felt I was born to do.  

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

Early on, when I was 22, I showed two acquaintances a goofy, highly cartoony piece. They looked at it and then broke out into hysterical laughter. I remember thinking , “wow, my art affected them this way. My art has power “. I was astonished at this revelation. I’ve also done some very personal art that has moved the recipients to tears (in a good way).

What are you working on right now, or what are you currently obsessed with?

A lovely children’s book by a woman that is all about LOVE. Naturally, I have to put all my love into the illustrations. Also, abstract pieces are never too far from my thoughts.

Can you describe a single habit that you strongly believe contributes to your success?

A single habit that contributes to my success is simply taking good care of my body to maintain the energy necessary to create my best work.

What role does the artist have in society?

There are a lot of ways to answer that. Mine is to say that artists of all kinds strive to access the ephemeral divine, and share it.

What has been a seminal experience of yours?

When I was 7, my aunt opened a drawer in the basement and said, “take them “. The contents of the drawer were comic books.  The colors of the covers blew my mind….and I have never recovered.

How has your practice changed over time

I have a daily practice, “Integral Transformative Practice (ITP), that involves movement, meditation, affirmation. It helps keep me focused and of a positive spirit. I warm up often by painting beautiful hearts on scarp pieces of watercolor paper, and then personalize them eventually.

 

*AP classes are classes in high school you can take for college credit that are based off of college criteria and testing

Dress for Success

p1When Job-Hunting: Dress for Success

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

It’s probably one of the most overused phrases in job-hunting, but also one of the most underutilized by job-seekers: dress for success. In job-hunting, first impressions are critical. Remember, you are marketing a product — yourself — to a potential employer, and the first thing the employer sees when greeting you is your attire; thus, you must make every effort to have the proper dress for the type of job you are seeking. Will dressing properly get you the job? Of course not, but it will give you a competitive edge and a positive first impression.

Should you be judged by what you wear? Perhaps not, but the reality is, of course, that you are judged. Throughout the entire job-seeking process employers use short-cuts — heuristics or rules of thumb — to save time. With cover letters, it’s the opening paragraph and a quick scan of your qualifications. With resumes, it is a quick scan of your accomplishments. With the job interview, it’s how you’re dressed that sets the tone of the interview.

How should you dress? Dressing conservatively is always the safest route, but you should also try and do a little investigating of your prospective employer so that what you wear to the interview makes you look as though you fit in with the organization. If you overdress (which is rare but can happen) or underdress (the more likely scenario), the potential employer may feel that you don’t care enough about the job.

How do you find out what is the proper dress for a given job/company/industry? You can call the Human Resources office where you are interviewing and simply ask. Or, you could visit the company’s office to retrieve an application or other company information and observe the attire current employees are wearing — though make sure you are not there on a “casual day” and misinterpret the dress code.

Finally, do you need to run out and spend a lot of money on clothes for interviewing? No, but you should make sure you have at least two professional sets of attire. You’ll need more than that, but depending on your current financial condition, two is enough to get started and you can buy more once you have the job or have more financial resources.

Expert Hints for Dress for Success for Men and Women

Attention to details is crucial, so here are some tips for both men and women. Make sure you have:

  • clean and polished conservative dress shoes
  • well-groomed hairstyle
  • cleaned and trimmed fingernails
  • minimal cologne or perfume
  • no visible body piercing beyond conservative ear piercings for women
  • well-brushed teeth and fresh breath
  • no gum, candy, or other objects in your mouth
  • minimal jewelry
  • no body odor

Finally, check your attire in the rest room just before your interview for a final check of your appearance — to make sure your tie is straight, your hair is combed, etc.