Editor's Desk - March/April 2014

Let Me Up, I've Had Enough

Most of the time, I am a glass-half-full sort of person. A relatively positive worker bee, generally happy in my work life and home life. Sure, if you throw too many curve balls, I begin to build up a wall of resistance, but even in the face of too much, I almost always come around.

But recently I realized that there are times when even I just can't take it anymore. Are you guessing where this is going?

As you're reading this, sitting at your desk or in your favorite comfy chair, I imagine that the season has (finally) turned. At least, I really sincerely hope it has.

You see, even when it comes to a drawn-out, bitterly cold and extremely snowy winter, I managed to keep my cool—and my happy face. Up to a point. I thought I would be the last holdout—the only person in a 100-mile radius who could make it the whole way through the season without a complaint. But then the 5 inches of snow that broke the yak's back fell, and I found myself out in negative-5 degrees (again), trying to stomp the feeling back into my feet (again) while digging us out (again).

This season has been enough to try anyone's patience. (If you ask me, it's karma for folks who complain when the winter is relatively mild.) But then, there are some folks who will complain no matter what's happening.

And that brings me to my point. How is a long, snowy, wicked-cold winter like a company trying to boost employee engagement?

Well, for one thing, there are always going to be a handful of disengaged who will not be happy no matter what you do. You can provide top-notch communication strategies, reward right behaviors and deliver the most effective recognition going, and you still won't be able to bring these folks around. No matter how good your program is, they're going to complain.

The next step for you, of course, is to figure out if it's worth it to keep these sourpusses around. After all, your business pays a hefty price for their bad behavior, as the negativity spreads around them in a sort of polar vortex of gloom, sucking everyone in the vicinity down into the deep-freeze.

But what about those others—the positive employees who are either already engaged or are willing to work on it? Ultimately, these folks are your targets, but you still have to take care. Even the most positive and engaged workers can start to grow weary if you don't take care to give them a break from the constant winds of change every once in a while, whether that break takes the form of an incentive trip or it's a "Way to Go!" accompanied by a reward for sticking to it.

That's why it's so important to find the right partner who can work with you to create effective engagement and motivation programs. Someone who's been there and done that enough to know the little quirks, the ins and outs, and the bad weather that can cast a pall over any usually-happy face.

This month, we feature our IMRA Directory, where you'll find plenty of partners who are highly knowledgeable and experienced in putting together merchandise incentives to motivate everyone from your average performers to your top sales rep, your most loyal partner to the customer you want to win over. Please have a look, and don't hesitate to reach out to these industry experts. They really know their stuff.

And, don't worry. I've already come back around now that the snow's starting to turn to muck. I'll be out there stomping through the mud in my boots, looking for the first flowers of spring.

And remember, there's always a bright side.

Be well!

Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,