4 Ways to Promote Employee Fitness

Wanted to share this article on promoting employee fitness.

by Rachel  Hartman on August 17, 2012 on Intuit Small Business Blog

desk workout

Implementing a fitness program for employees may not top your to-do list;  however, not encouraging an active workforce could cost you more than  you figure.

In fact, finances are the biggest risk of an inactive workforce, says Paul Newell, a  personal trainer who works with small businesses to keep employees fit and  healthy. “Sick employees, or employees with conditions like diabetes and heart  disease, will increase the cost of health insurance,” he warns. On the flip  side, healthy, active employees will lower insurance costs. You’ll also notice  improvements among productivity and energy levels, Newell says.

Encouraging fitness among employees doesn’t require vast amounts of your time  or budget. Here are four strategies for increasing the activity levels of your  workers:

1. Create an exercise-friendly work environment. Burgess Advertising and  Marketing, a 15-person, full-service marketing company in Portland, Maine,  organizes lunchtime walks for employees. It also provides shower facilities and  a storage area for bicycles and other sporting equipment.

“Not only do these things encourage fitness, but they are great for team  building and healthy lifestyle choices, which lead to fewer sick days,” says  Pekka Paavonpera, public relations and interactive marketing director at the  company.

Other ways to create a fitness-minded work culture: Provide employees with a list  of stretches they can do at their desks, hold a stand-up meeting, or schedule monthly games that all are  invited to participate in, such as softball, kickball, or volleyball.

2. Add incentive. Once a year, the Oaks at Ojai, a wellness spa  located in Ojai, Calif., sponsors an employee weight-loss program. “Each  participant puts in $5, and the Oaks doubles the pot,” says Nancy Byrd Radding,  fitness director at the spa. The program runs for two months; when it’s over,  the participant who has lost the most weight takes home the cash.

If your employees are up for a “Biggest Loser” type of competition, consider  tallying up points for the most inches lost. The winner could receive a prize  such as a gift card or trophy, trainer Newell suggests.

3. Encourage employees to train for special events. At  Burgess, staff members are encouraged to enter local charity fun runs,  triathlons, walks, and golf tournaments. Those participating often train  together, either during lunch or after work.

To help your employees get involved in local activities, gather the details  for an upcoming charity event (find happenings in your area here). Share the  information with everyone. Then encourage workers to sign up — perhaps under a  company team name — and train together for it.

4. Set an example. When it comes to fitness activities, “if  the people at the top of the organization aren’t participating, employee  adoption and engagement may be low,” Newell says. To encourage a high turnout,  join in the activities whenever possible. If you announce an after-work jog that  all employees are invited to participate in, for instance, put on your running  shoes and get out there, too.

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IGCC Announces 2012 Holiday Gift Card Partnership with Wounded Warrior Project

IGCC is delighted to announce its 2012 gift card partnership with Wounded Warrior Project™ (WWP).

“In just three years our wonderful and generous association members really stepped up and have donated over $50,000 in gift cards to the Make A Wish Foundation. The cards have helped make over 1,500 wishes come true for some very brave and deserving children and their families,” commented Rich Killian, President of the IGCC.

This year IGCC is honored and privileged to announce a partnership with Wounded Warrior Project.

“These truly are the real heroes in our communities all across the US, they have sacrificed so much to ensure our freedom and way of life,” remarked Rory Smith, Chairperson of the IGCC volunteer task team.

The 2012 Holiday Gift Card Drive goal is $30,000 in gift cards. The drive will launch July 1st and end on November 30th, 2012.

“Through our partnership with IGCC, we are able to continue serving our injured service members as they have proudly served our country,” said Wounded Warrior Project Chief Development Officer Adam Silva. “With the support of partners like IGCC, we are able to honor, empower, and make a difference in the lives of our service men and women everyday throughout the year.”

The 2012 IGCC Holiday Gift Card Drive volunteer task team  includes:  Ed Brookshire, Corporate Rewards; Forest Miner, Red Door Spa; Anne Jetter, Gift Certificates.com; Ed Handel, Crutchfield Electronics;  Andy Hodges, Affinion; Ann Strohata, Great Lakes Scrip; Diane Walker, Reaf Marketing; Ric Neely, Marriott Individual Incentives; Timm Walsh, Regal Cinemas; Darian Washington, Petsmart; Lauren Haus, T.J Maxx;  Betty Weinkle, Spafinder Wellness;  and Rory Smith, Shell/Royal Performance Group.

RPG is proud to donate $2,500 in gift cards to this special project.

For more information on this project or on Royal Performance Group, please call (888) 774-0125, visit our website at www.rpggiftcards.com, follow us on Twitter @rpg_giftcards, or “Like” our fan page at http://facebook.com/rpggiftcards.

Posted in IGCC Incentive Gift Card Council, Make A Wish Foundation, Rory Smith, Royal Performance Group, RPG Gift Cards | Tagged | Leave a comment

Effective Safety Recognition Programs

It’s all too easy to launch a fun, exciting employee safety reward program – put up lots of colorful safety theme posters, hand out theme buttons, kick it off with a pizza lunch and announce some great prizes/ rewards for achieving safety goals.

While safety recognition programs can be highly effective at changing or reinforcing employee safety behavior – to ensure real success in your overall program, there are a number of critical Safety Program components that must be in place first – otherwise your overall company safety results may fall well short of your program goals.

Effective employee Safety Programs are critical for all manufacturing companies. They must start from the top down in the organization. Senior company leaders must continuously and visibly endorse and support the overall importance of the Safety Program to the organization. In addition, the necessary resources must be committed to ensure the continuous achievement of required company safety objectives.

Key Safety Program components:

  1. Safe Work Environment – it seems obvious but employee working areas must be safe from all potential hazards (both naturally occurring and manmade).
  2. Safe Work Equipment – again seems obvious, but it can be overlooked.
  3. Invest in your Safety Department – equip your safety department with adequate resources from experienced knowledgeable safety professionals to training materials.
  4. Hire ‘Safe’ People – consistent attention should be paid in the hiring process to seek and hire individuals who indicate high levels of overall general ‘responsible behavior’.
  5. Effective Training – comprehensive, continuous and thorough employee safety training is critical for best results. Training is not a one-time ‘flavor of the month’ type thing. It should be ever present and ongoing.

Why Ongoing?

It should be ongoing because things change. Safety laws, legislation, and safety practices, along with possibly the work environment, equipment, materials, and products.

Perhaps the biggest reason training must be ongoing is because of your employees. They’re human and human nature makes people do silly things. They may be tired or thinking about personal issues while on the job. Perhaps they’re anxious to complete an assignment, finish up a project, or even meet a production goal. Then there’s always employee turnover – new hires to consider.

The reasons are many but mistakes and accidents can and do happen. That is why continuous ongoing training as a reminder/reinforcement of how to work safely and why it is important must be ingrained in your organization – 24/7, 365 days a year.

How Employee Recognition Programs can help ensure effective safety training programs –

The Carrot or the Stick?

Employees are human and as such, at times they must change their safety behavior if it’s not at an acceptable safety level.

Equally if the behavior is at a highly acceptable level – this means your employees are really making the required effort continuously to be safe. We all know we like to be recognized for overall efforts / job performance.

It’s really ‘the carrot and the stick approach’ – volumes have been written and studies done indicating ‘the stick’ approach can only work so far – but for overall most effective employee behavior change or overall maintenance of high levels of employee performance ‘the carrot’ approach is more effective.

“I don’t have a Safety Program recognition budget – it costs too much”

This can be a typical response – the great news is that your overall employee Safety Recognition Program doesn’t have to cost a lot. If it’s part of an overall effective employee Safety Program, far from costing anything it can generate a positive ROI!

How – by helping to reduce the amount of on the job safety related accidents.

Key Components in an effective employee Safety Reward Program
(once all other Safety program elements are in place)

  1. Program Communication – ‘Shout it Out’!Program communication must be continuous, fun, visible, and colorful.Pick a program theme. Consider posters, banners, employee newsletter, employee website, corporate voicemail/email message (from CEO), or imprinted message on paycheck stub etc.Hold a fun kick off meeting. Music, balloons, pizza lunch, coffee /donuts – hand out company logo pens, drink bottles/t-shirts etc – announce/explain the program in detail.
  2. Build a reward component into the Safety Program (consider gift cards, merchandise premiums etc).Nominal rewards can be handed out eg; $5 gift cards to Shell, Subway, Starbucks, iTunes, Burger King, movie cards, etc. Overall Safety Program themes can be imprinted on many merchant gift cards to reinforce safety program message/theme.
  3. Attendance at training classes – Have Fun – recognize/thank employees for attending/participating.Announce throughout the safety training classes – quizzes will take place – everyone or the first to answer the safety training questions correctly get a gift card.
    Perhaps at the end of the training class a special “Mystery Prize” gift card (no one knows the card brand or the denomination) can be awarded – a complete surprise!Consider dividing classes into teams for fun competition.The more fun your Safety Training class is the more your employees are going to learn about safety.
  4. Conduct quarterly safety tests/quizzes – achieve a specific score – receive an award/reward.Again have a little fun with this!
  5. Caught doing the job right.All supervisors, plant managers, and managers in general should seek out opportunities to catch employees working safely, using the right safety equipment clothing, and using safe work practices.Visibly tell them – recognize the employee on the spot, in front of their peers – give them a recognition reward (eg; gift card / ‘attaboy’).
  6. Ongoing structure, a more formal employee safety recognition program individual.
    This can be individual, team, shift, or plant Safety Recognition Program.
  7. Set Performance GoalsEnsure they the goals are:
    Action Orientated
    Time BoundNote – if a key measurement is ‘reported accidents’, care must be taken to ensure that neither the reward program nor any type of inappropriate peer pressure is applied to encourage an employee not to follow company policies and report an accident that they have had.
  8. Celebrate The Success…”Excellent companies make extraordinary use of celebrating the winning once it occurs” – a quote from the famous book ‘In Search of Excellence’.Sadly for most of us, we’re not going to play in the Superbowl or hit that three point shot to win the NBA Championship – our work is a huge part of our lives – in many ways it’s our Superbowl!Let’s treat it as such and reinforce and recognize our employees when they achieve and maintain required levels of Employee Safety – “We’re # 1 – We’re World Champions in Safety”.
  9. What type of rewards should I use?There are many different types of rewards out there from t-shirts to trophies to merchandise premiums to gift cards.Company logo items such as pens, t-shirts and coffee mugs are nice but they are not really considered highly motivational by employees as they are considered a type of company / program advertising.Merchandise is expensive (middle man markup) and very difficult to determine what a diverse group of employees really would like to earn/receive.
  10. Gift cards are hot!Gift Cards continue to grow in popularity in Safety Programs because:- They allow employees to choose their own reward eg; Shell, Wal-Mart, Best Buy or Visa gift card.
    – Cost effective for employer – generally can be purchased at or close to face value (no middleman mark ups).
    – Easy to hand out/present – very light and portable.
    – Easy to use – at the retailer, online or thru a toll free number.
    – Many denominations – from as low as $5 and up – they can fit any safety recognition budget.

Good luck with your Employee Safety Recognition Program. We hope you find this information useful in designing an effective Employee Safety Recognition Program.

Rory Smith
Director of Sales
Royal Performance Group

Royal Performance Group is the leading provider of Safety Reward and Promotional Programs, running many diverse Safety Programs annually. RPG specializes in providing over 100 leading gift card brands.

©Copyright 2012 Royal Performance Group. All rights reserved.

Posted in B2B, Corporate Gift Cards, Corporate Incentives, Employee Recognition, Employee Safety, Gift Cards, Prepaid Cards, Rory Smith, Royal Performance Group, RPG Gift Cards, Safety Incentives, Shell Gift Card, Shell Gift Cards | Leave a comment

Incentive Gift Card Council Members Make Holiday Wishes Come True with Card Contributions to Make-A-Wish Foundation®

December 16, 2011

Once again, the Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC), a strategic industry group within the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA), will help grant wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions through their contribution to the Make-A-Wish-Foundation®.

On December 15, chair of the IGCC Holiday Gift Campaign initiative Rory Smith, RPG/Shell, presented more than $30,000 in cards contributed by IGCC members to Beth Murnane of the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. “The Foundation will utilize the donated gift cards to fulfill wishes, helping reduce the average wish cost. The cards will be used for wish enhancements and wish parties. We are extremely grateful to the IGCC and all of its member companies for their generosity,” said Murnane.

(L) Karen Renk, Executive Director IMA, (C) Beth Murnane, Corporate Development, Make-A-Wish Foundation Chicago, (R) Rory Smith, Sales Director, RPG/Shell Gift Card

Contributing IGCC members include:
Diamond Level: RPG-Shell

Platinum Level: Bass Pro Shops; Bed & Breakfast; Corporate Rewards; Fandango; Great Lakes Scrip Center; Marriott Individual Incentives; National Gift Card; Ovation Awards; Staples; and Travelocity.

Gold Level: Affinion Loyalty Group; Bath & Body Works; Brainstorm Logistics;  Cracker Barrel Old Country Store; Crutchfield Electronics; DCI Incentives; Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas; Groupon; Jiffy Lube; Lowes Companies; Sales & Marketing Management magazine; The Manna Group; and TJMaxx.

Silver Level: AMC; Buffalo Wild Wings; Cabela’s; Ceridian SVS; CouponTrade, Inc.; Footlocker; Giftango; Hallmark Business Connections; Home Depot; Impact Consulting Group; Intelispend; JC Penney Incentive Sales; Macy’s; Omaha Steaks; Premium Incentive Products magazine; Regal Entertainment Group; Regis Corporation; SpaFinder; Spa WeekMedia Group; SVM; Vantiv; and Yard House.

Bronze Level: Legal Sea Foods; Stoner Bunting

The Holiday Gift Campaign Committee included: Rory Smith, Royal Performance Group/Shell Gift Card; Ed Brookshire Corporate Rewards; Ed Handle, Crutchfield; Andrew Hodges, Affinion Group; Anne Jetter, Giftcertificates.com; Colleen Kyllonen, Carlson Marketing; Forest Miner, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas; Jim Rowins, Fandango; Ann Strahota, Great Lakes Scrip Center; Greg Whitacre, Marriott International Incentives.

Posted in B2B, Corporate Gift Cards, Corporate Incentives, Gift Cards, IGCC Incentive Gift Card Council, IMA Incentive Marketing Association, Make A Wish Foundation, Rory Smith, Royal Performance Group, Shell Gift Card, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Brand New and already winning awards… Congratulations to our Business Development Director, John Hornbogen for winning IMA’s “Shining Star Award”.  Below is the acknowledgement that appears in IMA’s weekly enewsletter:

Recipient of IMA's "Shining Star" Award

Hornbogen Earns IMA Shining Star Award
John Hornbogen, Shell Gift Card, has received IMA’s Shining Star Award. He was nominated by George Bousis, Coupon Trade, for sharing “his industry knowledge and his ability to turn soft ideas into solid marketing plans . . . he is one of the most talented mentors in the industry.”

Posted in B2B, B2C, Chicago Blackhawks, Employee Recognition, Gift Cards, John Hornbogen, RPG Gift Cards, Shell Gift Card, Shell Gift Cards | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Royal Performance Group Grows Their Gift Card Management Team

Royal Performance Group (RPG), a prepaid card program services industry leader, and Shell Oil Company’s gift card agency of record, has added John Hornbogen as Director of Business Development. Hornbogen, formerly the Retail Operations Manager for United Center and the Chicago Blackhawks. “I made the strategic move to Royal Performance Group to leverage my management, operations and marketing skills to a privately held company with a proven track record of placing on the Inc. 500/5000 list,” Hornbogen adds.

“John’s extensive background in working closely with corporate decision-makers made him an attractive candidate for our growing sales force,” said Tom Gilbert, RPG’s President. “We are expanding our Retail client representation and card program services, and feel very fortunate to add John to our team at this critical point in our growth progression,” he adds.

RPG specializes in retail card program services, providing stored value, prepaid, and loyalty card solutions for domestic and international top-tier retail organizations. In addition, the company also provides end-to-end gift card purchasing program services for employee recognition, safety incentives, dealer incentives, loyalty rewards, customer appreciation, sales motivation and more.

For more information on Royal Performance Group, please call (888) 774-0125, visit our website at www.rpggiftcards.com, follow us on Twitter @rpg_giftcards, or “Like” our fan page at http://facebook.com/rpggiftcards.

Posted in B2B, Chicago Blackhawks, Corporate Gift Cards, Corporate Incentives, Customer Loyalty, Employee Recognition, Employee Safety, Fulfillment Services, Gift Card Fulfillment, Gift Cards, Holiday Corporate Gift Giving, John Hornbogen, Loyalty Cards, Prepaid Cards, Royal Performance Group, RPG Gift Cards, Sales Incentives, Shell Oil, Stored Value Cards, Tom Gilbert, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do you make a conscious effort to make the people around you feel appreciated, supported and empowered?

I found this question under a LinkedIn Today topic. As an employee of a company that provides card services for employee recognition and incentive programs this question speaks to what we aim to accomplish with each sale. Employee incentive or recognition programs have now been established in 86% of North American businesses, according to WorldatWork’s May 2011 Trends in Employee Recognition report. Seeing such a large percentage of businesses enacting employee recognition programs sparks the question, why are these programs so important? The answer to that can be found in the question posed in the title of this post, because these programs make people feel appreciated, supported and empowered. We all know what it is like to feel appreciated, supported and empowered and, at least for me, I tend to do my best work at those times, whether at my job or at home, but we also know how it feels when we are lacking those three elements.  At those times we are most likely frustrated, angry, or just not focused; three things we would never want our employees to feel, especially when expecting exceptional work. Putting aside the fact that we should always strive to make everyone feel appreciated, supported, and empowered as part of our own ethical standards, it is just as important to make our employees feel that way in order to get their best results.

But, as Doug Booker’s comment on LinkedIn said, to be successful these programs must be put into effect by “knowledgeable and effective leaders. You need to be that leader; you cannot put a good program in place without a true desire to show appreciation, desire and support to your employees. To read further about what Doug Booker had to say visit his website on leadership at http://www.theconferenceforleaders.com/.

So, comment below about how you have created sustainable and effective employee recognition programs or any questions you have about them! Also, don’t forget to keep us updated on something new you have tried, as blogged about in my last post!

Have a great day!

Kaitlyn Corvino – Contributor

Posted in B2B, Corporate Gift Cards, Corporate Incentives, Employee Recognition, Employee Safety, Gift Cards, Holiday Corporate Gift Giving, Kaitlyn Corvino, Royal Performance Group, RPG Gift Cards, Safety Incentives, Sales Incentives, Stored Value Cards | Leave a comment