IDEAS

The big idea: shaping more inclusive incentives

Thank you to Neda Tootoonchi, Co-Founder of Falkenberg & Florence, for today’s post. Neda’s comments at a recent Twickenham Stadium incentives event caught our interest, and we’re thrilled to have her build on some of those ideas here. 

How are you seeing clients incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into incentives to ensure qualifiers feel welcome and included throughout a program?

I’m not a DEI officer and I’m also constantly learning — but I am an event expert and I know what makes an event successful. I have seen trends changing throughout the years and now more than ever, there is a real strive in our industry to make a difference.

You want to create ‘moments’ which will likely be remembered and we as the events industry have the power to really make a difference and create these ‘moments.’

We know that when you feel included, you are more likely to be engaged within the organisation you work for. A strong sense of belonging increases performance and empowers the whole team to be more collaborative and innovative.

It is essential that every member of the team, then, is given an equal opportunity to take part in proposed activities as part of an incentive program.

Here are some easy ways to make people feel welcome during an incentive program:

  • Change seating plans: don’t let qualifiers sit with the same people all the time
  • Keep the conversation flowing
  • Let qualifiers know what to expect ahead of time
  • Take the bias out of your marketing to reach a wider audience
  • Ask for feedback in real time

There is always room for improvement and you should always take a moment after each event, regardless of how it went, to debrief while it's still fresh in your mind.

How are you seeing companies use incentive programs to communicate their overall commitment to values like diversity, equity, and inclusivity?

Inclusion is a continuous process; it starts before employment and continues afterwards at every level of an organisation. And with hybrid work models increasing, many employees split their time between working in the office and working from home, which makes incentives a crucial practice to boost productivity.

Companies are aware of their personal biases and style when it comes to events and being able to change that mindset is indispensable for the event's success.

How do you see diversity, equity, and inclusivity in connection to sustainability — is it a subsect of wider "sustainability" discussions, or is it being treated as more of a standalone topic?

Well, you cant really deliver one without the other one. Inclusivity & sustainability go hand in hand; they are megatrends and have an effect on a global scale.

The world is trying to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and we must meet the needs of our generations, without compromising future ones. How we live today impacts tomorrow. An inclusive society aims to improve the quality of life for both current and future generations.

Sustainability and DEI are the way forward, not just for companies, but for humanity as a whole.

In order to implement a sustainability strategy and turn sustainability effort into success, you must provide a safe work environment where employees can be themselves, feel valued and therefore contribute to their best abilities.

What are you doing at Falkenberg & Florence to upskill and work more effectively with clients to create events that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive?

Cognitive diversity is a powerful tool and as an external agency, we can offer clients unique perspectives. The days where an agency would just send a list with a bunch of venues are long gone. Suggesting a venue you haven’t seen or an activity you haven’t tried to a client you don’t know is nonsense; they may as well just use a search engine as their agency.

We constantly travel, go and see new venues, try new activities ourselves, grab networking opportunities that come along, and brainstorm afterwards to build suitable and inclusive events strategies for each client.

We, as an industry, are the ones on the ground. We know what works and what doesn’t, and we can truly guide clients to create everlasting memories through their events.

Our thanks again to Neda for sharing her thoughts with us. To connect with the F&F team or learn more about their work, visit their website.

Written by

SITE Staff

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