Keeping employees motivated is never an easy task. Organisations have a range of options but most argue that the “carrot” tends to be a more effective instrument than the “stick”. Incentives such as holidays and team-building programmes are some of the most common strategies for maintaining employee motivation.
The 2012 Canadian Incentive Trends Survey, revealed that a majority of businesses in Canada use incentive programmes – two-thirds (66%) of respondents confirmed they had used incentives, and over three-quarters (86%) indicated the number of programmes they were implementing had increased or stayed the same over the past three years. Moreover, the majority (59%) of respondents believe they gained a competitive edge over their competition as a result of these programmes.
“Motivating employees is essential for organisations as it forms the foundation for happy employees and a productive workforce,” says Paul Stocker, Vice President of National MICE and Group Sales, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). “Also, by motivating employees, organisations actually pay attention to the needs of employees and recognise their effort at work, which brings about job satisfaction.”
Mona Foo, Head of Sales, Royal Caribbean Cruises, agrees that employees need to be constantly motivated to feel valued and recognised. She says a vacation can therefore be one of the most memorable forms of reward for employees.
A wide range of service providers offer organisations various customised incentive trips, be it for a day or a week, to cater to different preferences, while others offer programmes for organisations keen to keep their staff local.
RWS, an integrated resort, has a number of venues that can cater to the different needs of its customers. Stocker says that incentive programmes can take on many forms at RWS, combining accommodation, entertainment, dining and attractions such as the region’s first and only Universal Studios theme park, or the interactive Maritime Experiential Museum.
“Organisations can customise their own incentive programmes by combining offerings in the integrated resort. Special incentive trips can also be organised to take advantage of special events such as the Halloween Horror Nights in October every year,” he says.
In May, Hermes conducted an incentive trip for its Singapore staff to Universal Studios Singapore. It comprised of a teambuilding segment (a Scavenger Hunt) as well as a recreation segment. The hunt was conducted at the movie theme park and consisted of staff solving clues and exploring the area. The recreation section was also something the employees enjoyed with 22 rides that included the celebrated “Transformers” roller-coaster.
But incentive trips do not have to stay on land, and an increasing number of organisations are turning to cruise trips for employee incentives. Royal Caribbean International offers corporate programmes and hosts an average of over 30 incentive and corporate groups for between three and five nights every year.
Foo says the organisation can arrange special onboard group programmes, such as team bonding activities and group dinners, as well as facilities for group meetings and conferences. “We can also assist to organise exclusive group shore excursions tailor-made or selected from our shore excursion menu. There is also a dedicated onboard group coordinator who will ensure all group programmes run smoothly,” she says.
The cruise ships of Royal Caribbean have a wide variety of entertainment and relaxation options that include the nine metre rock-climbing wall, mini-golf course, ice-skating rink, and even a surf simulator. “There is something onboard for everyone in one place, and organisations can enjoy these activities day and night, as groups or individuals, with great flexibility,” says Foo.
Incentivising one day
Though organisations want their employees to enjoy their incentive trips, taking a long time away from work can also be disruptive. As such, service providers also offer shorter outdoor programmes that last for just one day or less.
Stocker says that the average length of events that RWS caters for ranges from one to three days, depending on client preferences and activities they want planned.
He says that in RWS, the Universal Studios Singapore is a popular choice with its offerings of rides, shows and attractions. “Coming up soon at the integrated resort is the world’s largest oceanarium, which will open before the end of the year. Comprising a waterpark and aquarium, it will have plenty of thrills and spills for organisations seeking new activities for their incentive trips,” he says.
There are also other wide-ranging dining and entertainment options available at the resort, which provide opportune networking sessions on the side lines of any trip. These include everything from celebrity-chef restaurants to authentic hawker fares at the Malaysian Food Street as well as shows such as the animatronics spectacle ”Crane Dance” in the evening, adds Stocker.
Foo says Royal Caribbean can also offer organisations short trips for their employees. “Our cruises are two nights long at minimum, and available on our ship ‘Legend of the Seas”, from Singapore to Malacca,” she says. “The most popular length of cruise for groups is normally the shorter ones over the weekends lasting between two and three nights, with minimal work disruptions. Some corporate groups have also booked longer cruises with us for off-site and regional meetings.”
Besides enjoying the amenities, guests can also get off the ship to tour on their own or follow guided shore excursions at the ports-of-call.
Foo adds: “We have seen repeat corporate groups coming back with even larger group sizes as well as many referrals from groups which have cruised with us.”
Fuji Xerox incentivises employees
Fuji Xerox Singapore is always keen to motivate and engage its employees. Pauline Chua, General Manager, Human and Organisation Resource and Development, Fuji Xerox Singapore, says that the organisation offers both monetary and non-monetary rewards. “(These are) provided to our employees in exchange for their efforts, talents and results,” she says.
“For our top performers, we have organised annual incentive trips. These range from short trips around the region to more exotic locations in Europe, the US and Japan. This year we brought our top performers to Barcelona for a six-day trip, including their spouses,” she says.
The organisation has also conducted interesting incentive trips to exotic locations such as jungle trekking in Nepal, or a cruise trip to Alaska. “In Nepal, our colleagues travelled on three modes of transport before they reached their place of accommodation: they rode on the backs of elephants to cross a river, followed by a canoe when the waters got deeper, and then travelled by jeep once they reached the other side of the river,” she says.
Besides incentive travel, each department in the organisation is also encouraged to organise team-building activities on a quarterly basis. “Overall, these incentive trips or outings have given much motivation to our employees. They look forward to it and see it as a form of recognition and appreciation for their efforts,” explains Chua.
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