Combination key to motivate

David Riddell’s article (Promotions & Incentives supplement, February 24) dealt with a far reaching subject. I am interested in his comments about staff motivation and retention, a growing priority for marketing personnel – and not just the pe

David Riddell’s article (Promotions & Incentives supplement, February 24) dealt with a far reaching subject. I am interested in his comments about staff motivation and retention, a growing priority for marketing personnel – and not just the personnel department. The increasing number of articles in the marketing press, warning of the perils of a demoralised workforce, is evidence of this growing importance.

But I believe that we can go further than Riddell suggests by linking different motivational mechanics and disciplines. I am talking about a hybrid that covers a number of bases. Where we have used such an approach we found that the staff (or customers) at the receiving end of the activity are drawn further into the brand.

Instead of just a “having a jolly” for short-term benefit, or a collection scheme to meet long term goals, we always try to combine two disciplines at once. For example, a “Team Building through Cooking” event links staff motivation with team building as well as selected skills training. Staff gather in a field to take part in a cross between MasterChef and Can’t Cook Won’t Cook (but of course do).

In another example, sales staff motivation is linked with brand loyalty in conjunction with education about the brand. We call this an educentive programme, whereby staff are motivated to learn – and more learned staff are better able to “sell” the company.

“Team Building through Cooking” satisfies one of the demands David Riddell identified. To motivate people you must be “in tune with their interests, hobbies and lifestyles”. Forging a river with a tooth pick and a ball of wool may work for the male dominated, aggressive sales types but the subtleties and creativity of preparing a gourmet three-course meal, using only the ingredients, utensils and cooking facilities provided, is more versatile. The content is unique. The challenge is familiar, yet daunting. And the results, more often than not, are very good indeed. The bonding within and between teams is very motivating and long lasting.

Unlike war games and many outdoor pursuits you really do need to find something for all tastes, not just your taste. A combination approach will help you do this.

William Anderson

Business director

Poise Marketing

Barnet, Hertfordshire

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