Editor's Desk - May/June 2016

Good Times, Bad Times

According to a recent Gallup poll employee engagement among U.S. workers reached a new high in March 2016, when an average of 34.1 percent were engaged. This beat a previous high over the past five years, of 33.8 percent in March 2011.

While higher levels of engagement is good news, it's also somewhat disheartening to know that, even in better economic times, only a little more than a third of the U.S. workforce is engaged. Imagine the powerful innovations and advances that could be made in organizations of all kinds if the record-high for engagement were three-quarters, two-thirds or even just half of U.S. workers.

Incentives and rewards, motivation and recognition—these are all tools that can help move that needle. And there's reason to believe that when the economy gets better, more organizations invest more dollars in these sorts of efforts. Of course, the reverse is also true, and when the economy slows and business falters, similar programs experience budget reductions or are cut entirely.

No matter what the economy is doing, and no matter what level of engagement your workforce can boast, there are always powerful reasons to support continuing investments in motivating, engaging, incentivizing and rewarding your workforce. And, as always, we're here to help you find some of the smartest and most successful ways of doing that.

As in every issue, we offer up a close look at some of the most rewarding merchandise and gift cards you can find via the incentive channel, along with information to help you connect with the most savvy professionals who understand the ins and outs of making those products work for you. This month we focus extensively on digital cameras, an area that has seen its own share of ups and downs. Despite the impressive power of smartphone picture-taking, nothing really beats the myriad features and functions of a real camera when you really want to capture a moment with a photo. Turn to "Motivation in Focus" to learn more about how digital camera manufacturers are stepping up their game to create cameras that put smartphone snapshots to shame.

We've also got a great lineup of stories in this issue that will help you get your program put together and running effectively.

First off, in "Fitting Events", we examine the history and current state of event marketing or event fittings. Maui Jim was the first manufacturer to offer this type of brand experience to your travel and meeting participants, and now more and more manufacturers are getting on board. Read on to find out more about how such events work, what makes them effective, and why you should definitely consider incorporating this type of offering into your travel or meeting lineup.

In "Length of Service Awards", we tell you all about the ins and outs of service awards. For decades, employee loyalty has been coveted, and recognized with rewards for years spent on the job. Despite the fact that fewer employees stay with one organization for the long haul, this sort of program is still highly important and very effective. Read on to find out why, and what you can do to ensure success.

In "Spread the Word", we communicate about… communication. Without skillful, savvy communication, your program will never get off the ground, much less succeed.

Finally, we take a quick look in "From Paper to Plastic to Electronic" at gift cards and the Incentive Gift Card Council.

Whether times for your organization are good or bad, you know the power of incentives, recognition and rewards. You know it can make a difference, making good times even better and helping turn the bad around.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,