Employee Engagement Strategies

Are your employees committed to the overall goals of your company? Do your employees care about the success of your business? Are your employees actively looking for opportunities to develop their talents and make their own contributions? If you are unable to answer “Yes” to all three of those questions, then it is likely that your employees are not properly and fully engaged in the workplace and are just drifting through for a paycheck. Properly engaging your employees will lead to higher productivity internally which will result in higher customer satisfaction externally. So how can you be sure your employees are fully engaged and productive? Here are some employee engagement best practices to ensure you are providing a healthy work environment where your employees feel safe, happy, and secure in their jobs.

Provide Opportunities

What many employers fail to realize is that employees expect a certain amount of commitment from their employers. By providing paths for advancement and opportunities to develop their careers, employers can demonstrate their commitment to their employees and show they care about their employees’ futures. Since 2017, Millennials have carried the majority of the labor force, and workplace expectations have changed over time. Now Gen Z makes up the latest wave of young professionals entering the workforce and is predicted to make up 30% of the US workforce by 2030. Employers need to start paying attention to what the current workforce wants, what they need, and what they expect. According to a recent report by Monster.com, Millennials are now more career-driven than ever with studies showing that 72% of them say they value opportunities for career development, compared to 52% for Boomers and 64% for Gen-X. Providing additional training and advancement opportunities for your employees is key to keeping them engaged. Training sessions help establish communications between team members and can clarify internal workings of the company. They also allow your employees the chance to candidly share opinions and expectations of their positions. The more open and transparent you are with your team, the more emotionally invested they will be. By allowing them to feel like they are part of the “inner-circle” of the company, employees will care more about their individual roles and be more willing to commit their time and energy to the company’s overall goals. Meeting and exceeding your employees’ expectations will lead to higher employee engagement, satisfaction, and happiness,

Recognize and Reward

Feeling under-valued and/or unappreciated is the #1 reason why most employees will leave an employer and find a new job, so keep your workforce going strong by letting your employees know they are valuable and appreciated. When employees are recognized and rewarded for their efforts, they become more engaged and motivated. Making employees feel that their work is valuable to the company’s overall performance will give them a sense of importance and appreciation. Recognizing the contributions of hard-working employees demonstrates to others what success looks like, and providing them with a non-monetary reward is icing on the cake. Cash rewards are viewed as an extension of income and therefore hold no significant weight, as they typically goes towards paying bills or buying groceries. Instead, opt for a loyalty points program where employees can earn points and redeem them for items of their choice, or a travel incentive program that will create a sense of anticipation and provide employees the opportunity to go on an unforgettable trip. They will remember their experiences – the exotic locations, the delicious food, the exciting activities – and they will return back to work to tell their co-workers about it, which will then motivate others to increase their own efforts. The bottom line is that using some form of a loyalty points program or travel incentive program to reward and recognize top performers is a great employee engagement strategy that is sure to improve employee retention and enhance a positive company culture.

Team Building

Team building brings people together by letting them collaborate with each other. Through fun activities, employees get the chance to bond and build trust with each other, preferably in an environment outside of the workplace. Team building exercises should be planned out so that your employees can be interactive and everyone can be involved, and be sure to incorporate your business's core values into the activities and games. A healthy and fun way to promote competition and teamwork simultaneously is by splitting your employees into smaller teams and giving each team various exercises to complete together while competing against the other teams. Be aware that the biggest mistake many companies make when it comes to team building exercises is allowing them to turn into manager-led exercises. Letting the employees lead the exercises will give management valuable insight into how their employees think, react, and deal with various situations, so be sure to have managers take a backseat during these sessions. Team building done correctly will lead to more employee engagement and ensure employee loyalty which is vital for business development and success.

Having employees who are fully engaged and productive, committed to the overall goals of your company, who care about the success of your business, and are actively looking for opportunities to contribute will only result in positive growth, development, advancement, and success for your company. Start investing in your employees and develop an engagement plan today!

Looking to engage your employees today? Learn more about Galactic.




Treehouse Haven
Summer is here! If you are looking to venture out somewhere calm, scenic, secluded, and connected to nature; I highly recommend visiting Treehouse Utopia in Utopia, Texas. Just a 5-hour drive from Dallas, this unique and magical destination has the comforts of home with sophistication in every corner. My husband and I stayed at one of the rentable treehouses last week and were pleasantly surprised by the luxurious feel and amenities provided. If you have ever seen the TV show, Treehouse Masters, you will recognize the builder, Pete Nelson. There are four mesmerizing treehouses with different themes and personalities on the Sabinal River for guests to enjoy. Each treehouse is run like a bed and breakfast with full plumbing, heat, and air conditioning. They provide breakfast, coffee, and water for all guests. The Laurel Tree Restaurant is highly acclaimed, nearby, and its chef runs the day-to-day operations of Treehouse Utopia. Additional restaurants, shopping, and more are only 20 minutes away.

Fun Fact: Treehouse Utopia sits on the back nine of Utopia Golf, which will be familiar to those who have seen the movie Seven Days in Utopia.

Here are some pictures I took to inspire you to get out and explore nature and all its possibilities.

Built from 800-year-old bald cypress trees. The treehouse includes three separate rooms and a patio. This one is called “Chapelle”

Bedroom with kneelers over the river
Front door by one of the main trees
Fiberglass claw foot tub between two stained glass windows from a church
This is a large bathroom for any structure, especially a treehouse. To the left is a French buffet that is used for storage and a tile shower in front
Ceiling with knick knacks on high shelves, large gothic windows, and chandeliers
Sitting area leads out to front patio
Patio view over the river
Large patio area
My husband and I for scale
If you happen to be in Texas or looking to escape city life for a bit, check them out at https://treehouseutopia.com/

Learn more about other hidden gems and places to venture to this summer with Galactic!



Ensuring Attendee Safety at In-Person Meetings and Events

Ensuring Attendee Safety at In-Person Meetings and Events


Though virtual meetings have been an essential lifeline for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, technology isn’t without its challenges and limitations. According to Psychology Today, at least two-thirds of communication can be nonverbal. In fact, a study by research psychologist Dr. Albert Mehrabian shows that when communicating emotional responses, over 90% of incoming information is not derived from the words a person says, but from how they say them, and what the person is doing or how they are acting while they say them. As beneficial as virtual meetings have been to keep businesses moving forward through the pandemic, they still lack that “human” factor we instinctively crave and seek. This is backed up by a Forbes survey that shows “84 percent of executives say they prefer in-person meetings for their ability to build stronger and more meaningful business relationships.” Not only do face-to-face meetings allow for us to interpret nonverbal cues from others, but engaging in casual chat about sports, food or a good movie before or after an in-person meeting can foster a good business relationship and create a common bond between people. Across the country and around the world, live events are gathering steam while still adhering to pandemic protocols to keep all participants protected. To help keep your business going strong, here are some tips on how you can safely resume having in-person meetings and events:



Make temperature screenings and on-site Covid-19 tests part of the registration process. Also, you can require all attendees to sign a code of conduct confirming they will adhere to CDC guidelines, self-monitor for any Covid-19 symptoms, and report if they are feeling unwell. If you are expecting a huge crowd, have the attendees undergo a PCR or rapid Covid-19 test within 72 hours before traveling. Be sure attendees are informed and aware of protocols in advance so they can determine what they are comfortable with and what to be prepared for before they register. 


Air Quality 

Whenever possible, open windows and doors to allow natural airflow to circulate throughout the room. If that isn’t an option, speak with the building manager about the most effective use of the air-conditioning and ventilation systems. Consider hosting breakout sessions and group activities outdoors to allow for maximum airflow and minimize the risk of transmission. Remember to limit the number of attendees based on how much space you will have available in order to remain compliant with social distancing guidelines.


Swag Bags

Who doesn’t like gifts? Providing attendees with goodie-bags filled with hand-sanitizers, masks, and other cleaning essentials will remind and encourage attendees to use them throughout the meetings and events. Also, swag bags provide fantastic sponsorship opportunities for your event. 


Food and Beverage 

To ensure food safety, meals should be served in individually boxed containers when possible. Make use of tamper-proof personalized stickers and labels to reassure attendees that items have been sealed and remain undisturbed. If that is not an option, ensure you have server-attended stations with plexiglass barriers. Have single-serve bottled or canned beverages available for guests as well. If your venue has enough outdoor space available, utilize it for open seating for dining. Providing healthy meals and immune-boosting juices to guests throughout the day will also show you care for their well-being.


In Conclusion 

As more face-to-face meetings and events resume, health protocols should be a priority in every stage of planning. Different types of venues have different sets of rules and there are a lot of things to think about when planning live events during COVID-19. Some attendees may still be nervous gathering in groups, so be sure to remain consistent and clear regarding your planned and contingent safety measures. 


Planning your next meeting or event? Let Galactic take care of it!



Retaining Employees Post-Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic created an economic crisis in many ways. The social distancing, quarantining, and lockdown precautions that began in March of 2020 were aimed to reduce the transmission of the virus and lowered the infection rate, but it also caused a major downturn in the production and distribution of consumer goods and services. Millions of employees experienced layoffs or furloughs, and most of those lucky enough to keep working were still hit with reduced hours and wages. Some employees were relatively unaffected and able to keep steady employment while other essential workers braved the world day in and out, but there is one thing all employees have in common.

They are all contemplating their post-pandemic futures. What this means is a new threat for employers looking to retain their top talent. “According to new research of more than 600 U.S. businesses with 50-500 employees, 63.3% of companies say retaining employees is actually harder than hiring them” (Workest study). Read on to discover how creating and implementing a customized rewards program can provide extra benefits to your employees and drive employee engagement to help your business thrive from the inside out.

Most organizations are made up of diverse groups of people including working parents, single individuals, entry level enthusiasts, and tenured experts, among others, along with a range of generations from Gen Z to Baby Boomers and well beyond. When you can understand the unique needs of these individuals and what matters to them, then you have unlocked the key to success. A rewards points program will motivate and empower your employees by giving them the option to choose their own reward for a job well done. Cash rewards typically go towards bills, gas, or groceries and are soon forgotten, and according to the HR Daily Advisor, when monetary incentive programs are “used continually, a bonus or other incentive can come to be seen as an entitlement rather than a motivator. Monetary incentives may be less effective than nonmonetary incentives, especially over time.” A rewards points program encourages employees to earn points for meeting or exceeding their individual and team goals, then redeem those earned points for items of their own choosing which adds trophy value to the reward and helps instill loyalty to the company.

Employees want to work for organizations that go beyond monetary rewards, where their voices are heard and they feel inspired to be more productive and engaged. When implemented and executed correctly, an effective points program will encourage teamwork and reward right behaviors. According to an article from the Society for Human Resource Management, “more than half of employees plan to look for a new job in 2021. The reasons that employees are considering a change include better compensation and benefits, more work/life balance, and less stress.” Employees crave a rewarding and purposeful workplace atmosphere that provides multiple advantages ranging from remote work and benefits offerings to additional training and career advancement opportunities. When employees feel appreciated and valued, they are more likely to remain motivated and committed to their organizations and in turn, employers can better retain top talent.

As society begins to focus on an overall economic recovery, it should also be a goal for companies to include an employee retention strategy within its own economic recovery plans. It would be unfortunate for businesses to successfully create plans to increase productivity only to find that they don’t have the workforce to support it. Establishing a rewards points program to reward your employees will show them you are invested in their futures and will help you retain the personnel you need to succeed.


Looking to retain your top talent today? Learn how Galactic can help.



Summer Travel Tips

Summer Travel Tips


The onset of the pandemic in early 2020 abruptly forced most people to make significant changes to their travel plans, either by revamping, rescheduling, postponing, or even outright cancelling their trips, and many have not been able to travel for a while. The good news is that things are changing for the better and travel is expected to return in a big way this summer. Warmer weather and time off from schools after a year of rescheduling and cancelling plans is likely to result in a high demand for escapes to much-needed fun and relaxation. There is no doubt about it, we are all ready to get back out into the world and travel again so don’t be surprised to see fully-booked tours, hotels, and car rentals this summer. Many places have also had to increase their prices in an effort to recoup some of their lost revenue from the lack of travel and tourism, so continue reading to learn how you can save a few dollars on your next adventure.



Keep in mind fares will always go up during the summer months, but they could be even higher than normal this year. If summer fares are out of your budget, consider waiting to travel until the fall. Off-season travel can save money, offer more flexibility, and popular places are less congested, all of which can result in a better traveling experience. Generally speaking, where you go, when you go, and when you book will determine your prices. Hooper or Scott’s Cheap Flights are some great flight racking services that will alert you when a good airfare deal is available for your preferred destination. Bundle deals can also provide additional savings. If the flight, hotel, and car are each very expensive on their own, look for bundles and packages. Some airlines like JetBlue Vacations offer added savings when you bundle.


Rental Cars

Many rental car companies are currently experiencing a vehicle shortage. Try to book a car rental today and most likely you’ll notice that prices have skyrocketed and car choices are limited. Autoslash, a car rental site that tracks car rental prices, explains that “this is because the pandemic forced many rental car companies to unload their inventory when demand dropped by 90 percent.” As more people are vaccinated and eager to travel again, car rental companies simply cannot keep up with the demand. Lots of people are moving from the city to the suburbs and renting cars to get around which has taken cars out of the lots for vacation renters, and people are also taking longer trips and more road trips than normal, which ties up inventory as well. If you do manage to find a car, expect to pay more for the rental – especially in remote locations. Signing up for and joining rental car loyalty programs in advance may help expedite the process at rental counters, provide discounts, and save you some unnecessary headaches. If you are in desperate need of a vehicle or seeking a last-minute car rental, check out peer-to-peer car rentals such as TuroGetaround, or Avail



Now that hotels feel safer and people are ready to mingle with others, there may be a surge in hotel prices. New hotels may offer the best deals right now as hotel managers are eager to fill rooms and receive great reviews from guests. Additionally, there should be fewer fears regarding cleanliness since everything is essentially new. As always, shop around for summer deals and specials, and make strategic choices when it comes to booking hotels. Rates are generally less expensive the farther away you get from airports, downtown areas, and tourist attractions. Flexibility can also help you save more money as you may find a better deal one or two days before or after your original travel dates. Finally, call hotels directly and ask about current available deals or specials. You may be able to get more bang for your buck just by simply asking. 


Looking to escape this summer? Galactic can help!



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