Getting out of the comfort zone...
It’s true what they say about travel – it’s a fantastic way to broaden the mind, experience something new, and just get away from it all for a while. Using the power of travel, or even just a special occasion closer to home, is a fantastic way to provide staff – whether it’s your own team or those in your sales channels – with something a bit different.
Give people something that blows away the cobwebs from too long spent in the office or on the shop floor, that gets people out of their comfort zone, and provides an experience that really makes a difference.
There are plenty of opportunities to work travel and events into an incentive and recognition programme, no matter what you’re trying to achieve. Finding the right balance is what will really make you an employer that stands out, and that really gets the best out of people.
Before the campaign
The best way to kick off your sales campaign with a bang? It’s got to be events! Get people raring to go, while also ensuring they know what’s expected of them in the weeks to come, and that they have all the tools they need to succeed.
If your internal teams or sales channels are selling a new product, then they absolutely need to know it inside and out. You could send around a PowerPoint with all of the key selling points, sure – but be honest with yourself. How many people are going to read it? And how many of those people are actually going to take any of it on board?
Instead, give your new product the fanfare it deserves, and whisk your teams away for an event that brings that boring old slideshow to life. Linking the launch with the product itself means everything will really hit home – if you’re thinking big, you could fly people out to see where it’s made, while smaller-scale events could just see an activity that fits the theme of the product. For car insurance, think corporate hospitality at Silverstone – that kind of thing.
But most importantly, a big event will help the details of a product stick much more firmly in people’s minds. This is down to a really simple way in which memory works – we have our semantic memory, which covers general knowledge, work practices, song lyrics, your favourite Simpsons quotes, and so on, while our episodic memory stores personal experiences.
An event will create an episodic memory for your employees – they’ll associate the product with the event itself, and it will help them recall what they learned. Facts and figures from a slideshow, stored in semantic memory, may not be recalled quite as effectively.
However, if you follow the event up with a slideshow of the key details, it will help people consolidate that memory, sticking it in their minds for the whole campaign.
As well as product knowledge, your new campaign may require specific skills or techniques for your employees. Take the training sessions out of the conference room and into the real world and you’ll be able to create an experience that resonates with people far more strongly.
But the training doesn’t have to necessarily be linked directly to the product you’re selling – before a campaign begins you’ve got a fantastic opportunity to improve skills and knowledge across the board. Take your employees to an inspiring location – this amazing list from Eventbrite suggests the classy, weird and wonderful likes of the Natural History Museum, Carnglaze Caverns, and even Battersea Power Station (perfect for any Pink Floyd fans in the office, at least!) – and run sessions that help communication and customer service skills, or use celebrity speakers that add a little sparkle to getting your message across.
As well as the impact of episodic memory once again, investing in people’s skills is a sure-fire way to set yourself apart as an employer that really cares, that genuinely does want to help people perform and get the most out of their careers.
During the campaign
Don’t just set things up and walk away – make sure you’re keeping the momentum of your campaign going with events along the way. A re-energizing boost in the middle of the campaign could be just what you need to make sure everyone’s on board for that final push.
After a few weeks, or even months, working closely together, you may find some of your team members starting to experience the odd frustration with their co-workers. It’s an unavoidable part of life when people work together – CIPD research has found that four out of 10 UK workers will experience some form of interpersonal conflict at work each year, whether with a line manager or colleague.
Travel brings people together, too – sharing an experience of an event can be a great way to get people back on the same side, especially after they’ve had a little time away from the field of conflict!
Just remember to keep the dreaded trust exercises, blindfolds and multi-coloured inflatable balls to a minimum. Rather than trying to force fun, the best teambuilding events give people space to communicate, bond and get to know each other in a more social setting. It can make the perfect mid-campaign break, refreshing, revitalising, and bringing people together.
After the campaign
This is the fun stuff! You’ve met your goals thanks to your hard-working and dedicated teams, so it’s finally time to celebrate. While an office party or big BBQ blowout can be fun, there’s something to be said for going the extra mile – or, dare we say it, the extra thousand miles?
We’ve spent decades providing the most amazing prizes and rewards we can, both for employees and for contest winners. Although every prize has its place, and even the simplest things can make a big impact, we still think there’s nothing finer, nothing more exciting, nothing that really drives people to succeed more than travel does.
The holiday of a lifetime is the classic grand prize since the golden age of gameshows, and it makes an incredibly powerful reward in an incentive and recognition programme. Incentive travel provides the kind of experience that truly lasts a lifetime – people will never forget it, and they’ll always associate those amazing memories with you.
There are two ways to approach incentive travel – you can either offer that amazing trip as a prize to the top performers, inspiring fierce competition in the trenches of your sales team, or whisk the whole team away for hitting their combined targets, bringing people closer together and highlighting just how caring and exciting your company culture can be.
As for the destination? Well, much like with the product launch and training sessions, you could tie the prize itself into the product or campaign. If selling tech is involved for example, then how about a trip to San Francisco to see the sites of Silicon Valley, San Jose, and beyond? But you don’t have to, of course – the sky is quite literally the limit!
Last, but not least – don’t forget to publicly sing the praises of the people who have really made an effort over the course of a campaign. Add a little bit of glitz and glamour and bring things to an exciting close with an award ceremony in a luxury setting. Keep the food coming, the drinks flowing, and the red carpet rolled out while you hand over prizes to top performers – it could even be the perfect place to announce the winners of that big incentive travel trip.
Let’s talk logistics
We know what you’re thinking. All of this sounds like a lot of work! And it is – but our in-house travel and events team don’t mind. In fact, they love it – we act as our clients’ own personal travel agent and events planner, sorting every detail to make sure it’s perfect. Get in touch with us today to find out more.