Why creating an experiential workplace should be high on the enterprise agenda

Posted by Jo Kelly

In a startling reversal of fortunes, big business is increasingly losing out to SMEs in the race for young talent.

This means some large companies are now facing a looming retirement cliff edge as they fail to replace previous generations of workers. Even worse, failure to attract young talent will create a vicious circle as a homogenous, ageing workforce becomes even less attractive to young and diverse recruits.

Know your audience

The central problem is that many long-established businesses have built their brand values, employee incentives and HR practices around attracting yesterday’s workforce. This is like trying to reach Generation Z consumers by placing ads in print newspapers.

For example, many older companies have built their rewards and incentives programmes around a bygone worker generation that valued tangible rewards for collective performance – such as bonuses for hitting company-wide targets – over personal recognition. This pre-Instagram generation valued privacy over peer approval and wanted private rewards such as salary increases instead of shared experiences. In other words, they prized salary and status over social approval.

Yet the new Gen Z worker values individual recognition over collective reward. They want rewards that recognise and incentivise their self-development, career progression and personal contribution to the bottom line. And this Instagram generation doesn’t want to keep quiet about it; they want the kind of employee recognition they can capture and share in a selfie. They don’t want offline rewards such as verbal praise and gift cards in envelopes but online rewards such as e-gift experiences that can be captured and shared. They blur the line between private and work life and want workspaces, company perks and rewards that they can share with both friends and colleagues.

Get inspired by which travel destinations are filled with impressive picturesque photo ops to share.

Top 5 Instagram-Inspired Winter Travel Destinations

Rewards to attract top talent

To compete for top talent in the modern labour market, the key is to move from a workplace culture based only on tangibles such as cash rewards for collective company performance towards an experiential workplace that celebrates individuality.

Pioneering enterprises are increasingly tapping into the ‘experience economy’ to improve employee retention and recruitment and even to incentivise learning or employee cohesion.  These companies are appealing to a new generation of workers through social rewards programmes for individual top-performers such as online leader-boards resulting in travel experience gifts shared on the company Instagram. We have seen major brands use everything from rally-racing to crystal mazes to boost team-bonding and create incentivised learning programmes rewarded with shark-diving trips.  Some enterprises are even creating Instagram-friendly offices with photogenic snacks, neon signs and colourful desks.

Replacing collective company rewards with person-centric perks encourages diversity by allowing companies to offer rewards that reflect different employee’s interests or characteristics; a sporty employee might receive tickets to a football match while a puzzle-solver might appreciate an Escape Rooms experience.

Social media shares

Unlike status or salary, experiences are captured forever in our memories and social media feeds. By encouraging staff to share their achievements and rewards, experiential gifts form a virtuous circle that not only improves staff retention but transforms employees into online ambassadors attracting more recruits as they plaster positive workplace experiences across social media. Moving from purely discreet financial employee rewards towards public experiential rewards shared on social media also brings corporate gift culture out of the shadows and into the open. This creates a trustworthy, transparent, meritocratic rewards system where incentives are distributed fairly to all according to merit while cronyism, bribery or old boys networks are discouraged.

To learn more about which winter travel destinations are inspired to be captured on instagram whilst driving better business performance, you can download our new ebook here.

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How we can help you to motivate your staff

At CR Worldwide, we can quickly, plan and implement a range of events, including conferences and partner summits. Our events are:

Engaging – We aim to enhance loyalty and performance, increase company awareness, and create an emotional bond with your brand.

Easy to manage – With a team of dedicated managers to run and host your event, who provide exciting activities and experiences, we do the hard work for you.

Easy to implement – They can be easily set up and planned, tailored to suit your staff and meet your needs and business goals.

We’d love to excite, engage and inspire your teams with our Corporate Events. To speak to a member of our award-winning team:

Jo has worked at CR Worldwide as Events Operations Director since 2004. She is responsible for scoping and delivering all types of events, for clients of all sizes, globally. She manages the division’s team who organise and execute award-winning events – ranging from one-off sales floor days, corporate hospitality events and incentive travel trips, to annual conferences and partner summits.