Incentive travel then and now
The beginnings of an incentive travel idea can be traced back to the time of communist Poland. Corporate holidays houses, very popular at the time, tempted the workers with a perspective of holidays in an interesting place for little money. Apart from the low price, the company of the co-workers was guaranteed. With time, however, the employers quit the idea of organizing trips which combined the private and professional life. This is how the idea of organizing travels exclusively for the employees of a given company was born.
The opinions on incentive travels differ. Those not very flattering, stating that such trips are only an opportunity for corporate party with heavy drinking, result with inappropriate organization. Not so long ago, the person responsible for coordinating an incentive travel was a HR employee, and the trip itself usually came down to just one attraction – some sightseeing finished with a joint celebration. However, in the past few years the situation on the incentive travel market changed dramatically. Now if a company wants to send the employees on such a trip, there is some professional help at their service.
In case of an organization of this type of trip by a professional company a thing not to be underestimated is the organizational aspect – says Małgorzata Król, a specialist in the field of etiquette, an organizer of incentive travels, away trainings, business coach. An external company will take care of every detail, will provide the venue and attractions for the employees and will watch over the correct course of events. The companies organizing incentive travel professionally quite often offer a few venues with which they cooperate permanently and thanks to that, each event is organized and carried out smoothly – she adds.
When organizing an incentive travel you ought to remember that this event should fulfill certain functions. Apart from the entertainment for the employees, the employer should provide attractions which will bring a real benefit to the company. Most often, such trips are to strengthen the relationship and communication between the employees and to increase their trust in the company. An incentive trip is also a perfect opportunity to organize some specialist trainings. A well-organized trip may give the supervisors a lot of useful information on the functioning of the enterprise. Incentive trips are a great way to get feedback from the employees – with everyday problems left behind, relaxed, they more willingly talk about their needs and things in the company they would like to change – admits Małgorzata Król. Interpersonal coaches, conducting the trainings, also give their feedback and with such a set of information we will be ready to introduce, for example, new standards of communication after the return. Remember, however, that one trip will not solve all problems, so treat it more like a beginning or a continuation of building effective relationships within the company.
A wide offer of companies organizing such trips gives the entrepreneurs a possibility to provide a lot of attractions. You should remember that an incentive travel will bring the expected results only if it is really appealing to the participants. Different forms of activities offered to the subordinates may help to reach those results. To take full advantage of the opportunity to understand your employees better, you should make sure that apart from typical integration games, there are some practical workshops and relaxation classes. The combination of all types of entertainment will not only effectively relax employees, but also create them opportunities to gain new knowledge and skills.
Is it always worth it?
When commissioning an incentive travel to an external company, you should check if the company will adjust the plan to go with the individual needs of the company. A universal offer, designed for all the companies interested in such a travel, will not meet the objectives that the supervisor would like to achieve.
Work on an incentive trip offer starts with defining the needs of an enterprise in terms of building interpersonal relationships, with the help of independent specialists – says Małgorzata Król. Quite often existing problems and their reasons are defined at this stage. It is difficult to realize they exist because we constantly function within certain interpersonal relationships and communication patterns. After that, the specialists develop an offer of the trip, taking into account the specified overarching goals. Its form and program are therefore tailored to the needs of the enterprise.
Preparing an exact plan of the trip allows for avoiding some unpleasant surprises which are often a result of employees’ boredom. One has to remember that such a trip is of a professional nature. The supervisor and the organizer should be careful not to let the relationship between the employer and employees become too loose. The participants themselves should also bear in mind that in spite of the more informal situation, the borders in contacts with co-workers and employers should be kept.
The last issue which ought to be analyzed while organizing an incentive travel is the cost. A professionally organized trip is a considerable expense and not all companies may afford that. It’s better to look before you leap. Organizing an attractive incentive, which will then cause serious financial problems to the company, will not bring the expected results.
A well-planned, two-day national integration trip (1 night) with full board, in a four star facility in the spa town, with some workshop activities, competitions, evening event and an unlimited access to the spa costs 8 - 9 000 zł. Plus the cost of transport – informs Małgorzata Król. The event organized on your own might be more expensive, as the professional companies have negotiated more favorable rates in the hotels they work with - she adds.
Anyone who wants to organize a team-building trip, should remember that this type of event has to be a suitable pastime for subordinates. It will be so only if the organizer will provide a variety of activities and the trips will not be held too often. It should be a diversion, not an integral company tradition.