To say that company morale is important is something of an understatement. Not only do happy employees translate to more productive employees, but occasional perks like incentive trips are also a terrific way to keep people loyal, so that one particularly bad day won’t immediately send them looking for a job elsewhere. However, it’s important to understand that the line between what is acceptable and what is not at an incentive trip is a very fine one, indeed. You want to give employees the chance to really unwind and blow off some steam… but not at the expense of your ongoing relationships in the process.
If You’re There For Business, Get It Out of The Way First
Depending on the nature of your company’s incentive trip, you may actually have a fairly business-filled agenda that you’re trying to accomplish alongside all of the aforementioned fun and excitement. Maybe your ideal situation is team building exercises and progress meetings during the day, fine dining and drinks at night.
If that’s the case, make sure you emphasize that you’ll be tackling all of your business needs FIRST before the fun begins. If people know that this aspect of the trip is a high priority, they’ll be able to pace themselves in terms of things like alcohol consumption throughout the event. At the very least, they’ll know that they need to wait until the last day of a multi-day trip before they can REALLY cut loose and let their hair down, so to speak.
Lay Ground Rules Before You Go
In many ways, walking the fine line between fun and business at your company’s incentive trip all comes down to one word: expectations. Your employees are naturally responsible (or they wouldn’t be your employees for very long), but having said that, people still need to know upfront what you expect of them so that they can react appropriately.
If you’re heading to a beach or all-inclusive resort that serves alcohol, for example, let people know up front that they’re still representing your company and your brand and that you would prefer if they didn’t get blackout drunk. That’s an exaggeration for comedic effect, sure – but it’s still important to give people expectations to work against so they have the chance to truly police themselves throughout the stay.
This also gives you the opportunity to establish consequences if things get too out of hand. People know what you expect AND what they can expect if things get a little too wild.
Lead By Example
Finally, perhaps the most important way to walk the line between fun and business at your company’s incentive trip is to lead by example – this is especially true if you’re in a position of authority. Simply put, you can set the tone just by behaving the way you want people to behave. The chances are high that people won’t order a drink at lunch if they don’t see you order one first.
In a way, the best advice for this situation is just to walk the line yourself. Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want one of your employees to do and at that point, a large part of the hard work will have already been done for you. Depending on the nature of your team you may still have an employee or two who chooses to follow their own path, but these will be fairly isolated.