incentive boat ride

How incentive travel can increase employee happiness

The five-day, 40 hour workweek was a newsworthy movement made by henry ford (of ford motors) almost 100 years ago, in 1926.

Now, whilst many businesses have modernised their way of working – embracing agile and flexible working practices – there’s still no denying that the majority of our time awake is spent in the workplace or working.

So, why is it that 10% of UK employees actively dislike their job, with 6% hating where they work? And how can businesses put ‘happy’ practices in place to engage and retain employees?

Why do we go to work?

No matter what anyone says, the core reason that we work is for money. Money to pay our rent, buy our food, and purchase the things that make us happy.

However, studies have shown that a large majority of lottery winners continue to work after their lucky strike, even remaining at the same company. So, money can’t be the only reason we go to work.

Work is no longer a place to just ‘turn up and do your job,’ and rather, employees have increasingly more control over their working environment. Transferable skills and the ability to constantly develop means that generally, we can choose the kind of place we want to work, which ultimately, can have a huge impact on our happiness.

Now, in order to remain motivated in the workplace regardless of monetary incentive, happiness is essential. Incentive travel can help with that.

What is incentive travel?

Incentive travel is a tangible reward that can be implemented for a number of reasons. Targeted sales incentives aim to reward high performing employees, whilst some incentive schemes are engagement-based, or are simply just used to show how much you value employees.

All of these things, along with the incentive reward trip at the end of the scheme, can be attributed to workplace happiness.

Increasing motivation

If your life flashed before your eyes, for 20% of it, you’d be in work.

So, naturally, workplace happiness is an extremely important part of happiness in general, statistically making up 20% of it. Happy working environments are beneficial to both employees and employers. A University of Warwick study found that ‘happy’ employees were 12% more productive than average, and ‘unhappy’ are 10% less productive.

Productivity is a result of motivation, which is a result of happiness, which can beheightened by incentive travel schemes and the promise of an exclusive reward trip. In fact, the IRF (Incentive Research Foundation) defines travel as the ‘ultimate reward’ offering enormous impact from an experiential perspective.

What’s not to love?

Creating a 'happy' workplace

Happiness, along with motivation, can come in waves – with the workplace generally being a ‘happier’ environment at some times over others.

Turnover and retention research shows that in 2016, almost 10% of employees worldwide voluntarily changed company as they thought they’d be happier elsewhere.

The most important contributor to workplace happiness is taking pride in where you work. The following most important contributors were respect and appreciation, both of which – along with pride – can be conjured by incentive travel schemes.

Another – uncontrollable - variable that may affect employee happiness and retention is age. Generally, the ‘baby boomer’ generation stay at a workplace three times longer than ‘millennials’ – who by 2025, are predicted to make up 75% of the global workforce. For employers, this means that more thought and effort needs to go into ensuring ‘happy’ practices are put into place to maintain low turnover and positive working environment.

Millennials are fueling the growth of the so-called ‘experience economy,’ with more than three quarters of millennials choosing to spend money on an experience or event over material items. Studies have revealed that this generation have the same attitude towards workplace benefits – with less concern around salary and more on other employee benefits including flexibility, work-life balance, and company culture.

Taking this into account, incentive travel schemes definitely don’t need to be treated as a ‘one-trick pony’ to temporarily increase workplace happiness. In fact, using incentive travel schemes as a consistent driver behind workplace engagement can help to maintain a positive working environment and keep employees happy.

Maintaining employee happiness

Having a permanent and constantly improving employee engagement strategy and benefits in place can ensure that employees are reminded of their value regularly – something that as mentioned previously, the majority of the modern-day workforce desires more than a cash bonus.

Some of the key workplace benefits of an employee engagement incentive scheme include:

  • Work-life balance – workplace benefits such as flexible working, birthday days off, buy/sell holiday schemes and childcare support can give employees the freedom to fit work around their life, rather than the other way round.
  • Personal development – employers could offer training vouchers, paid time off to do charity work, and CPD opportunities. These things can provide and encourage employees to learn new skills to help further their careers, which is a huge contributor to happiness.
  • Health and wellbeing – prioritising employee wellbeing through benefits such as healthy snacks, discounted gym memberships, healthcare, and cycle to work schemes can show employees how much you value not only their happiness, but also their health.
  • Monetary – monetary benefits such as car allowances, bonuses and high street vouchers can be a great way to recognize and reward employees, like car allowance, bonuses and high street vouchers.

These are just some of the workplace benefits that businesses could explore. However, in some cases, maintaining happiness in the workplace could come from a simple ‘thank you’ from managers, meaning that buy-in from employees is extremely important.

Getting started with incentive travel schemes

Beginning to think about the pursuit of happiness in the workplace may be something that some businesses are continually improving, for others, it could be a brand new venture into changing their company culture.

For the latter, it can be hard to know where to start when implementing employee engagement strategies, incentive travel schemes and workplace benefits – it’s a lot to take on.

As a leading UK event agency with almost 20 years’ experiences creating and delivering once-in-a-lifetime experiences, inspiring business events, and helping customers to reach their goals – we know a thing or two about how incentive events can heighten workplace happiness.

From pre-event engagement strategies, to onsite delivery, and post-event analysis, we can help you to motivate your employees, increase productivity, create a positive working environment, and decrease turnover rates.

Get in touch today to find out more about how we help you to achieve your company goals and objectives.