Motivating nonsales employees was one focus of the 1996 Society of Incentive & Travel Executives (SITE) International Conference, which drew 397 members and guests to Vienna in November. In an address to the group, Dr. Lawrence Watson of Hay Management Consulting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia said that companies must now motivate a far more diverse range of workers beyond traditional salespeople, including nonsales employees who work with the sales team, "brain" workers who neither produce nor sell a product, part-time workers, "leased" workers, and telecommuters. In addition, corporations now also find themselves motivating different ethnic and cultural groups (many of them recent immigrants), same-sex couples, and unmarried workers. Another new group that is the focus of incentives is temporary project teams, who bring together different skills (at varied rates of compensation) for one project and might not ever work together again.
Other points brought up at the meeting: * James B. Dittman, CITE, of Dittman Incentive Marketing, Edison, NJ claimed more of his clients are questioning the value of their incentive travel programs.
* Several speakers noted that as people have become more experienced travelers, they want the same variety of choices in incentive travel as they seek in their individual travel-trips with more adventure, where they can learn about new cultures.
* There is a move toward consolidation among incentive travel houses, in order to attain a sufficient critical mass of planning and technology resources to serve a variety of clients. This is being driven by the need for speedy response (clients want their needs met "today") and partly because of the decreasing loyalty of incentive travel clients.
* According to David Riddell, senior director, incentive awards, Marriott International (and the new SITE president), Marriott's salesforce has noted a change in the distribution channels of incentive travel, with more travel agencies, advertising agencies, and sales promotion companies moving into the field.
In other news, SITE will hold regional University of Incentive Travel programs this year in its two most populous regions, rather than having a single international program.
The move is in response to the increasing globalization of its membership-only 45 percent are now in the U.S. The European University, scheduled for March 19 to 23, at the Palace Hotel and Park Hotel in Gstaad, Switzerland, will be headed by Paul Flackett, CITE, managing director of EIBTM. University of the Americas will be held June 22 to 26 at Charleston Place hotel in Charleston, SC. Corporate Meetings & Incentives Editor-at-Large Connie Goldstein will head the university.
Never mixing business with pleasure may be traditional business wisdom, but it's also dead wrong, according to Matt Weinstein, author of Managing To Have Fun (Simon & Schuster, 1996). Weinstein says bringing fun into the workplace can help improve employee morale, heighten productivity, create a more people-centered corporate culture, and, ultimately, increase profitability. His "four principles of fun at work":
Think about the specific people involved-The better you know your employees, the more effective you can be in using fun and play for reward, recognition, and revitalization.
Lead by example-There won't be any fun in your organization if you don't set an example by your own behavior.
If you're not getting personal satisfaction from what you're doing, it's not worth doing-Bringing fun to work is not a one-way street; it is for the manager's benefit also.
Change takes time-A corporate culture doesn't change overnight. Start by planning a number of small events that send the message that the company is learning to "celebrate itself" and to publicly appreciate its employees.