A Golden Year Ahead for Incentive Travel

Many of us are chuckling a bit, albeit while sympathizing with, current and former Twitter employees stuck capitulating to the whims and wants of a mercurial new owner.

The chaos Musk is causing has raised bigger questions though about workplace behaviors and what we — as employees, managers, and leaders — expect and hope for from those we work with. It also elevates the need for new solutions to attract top talent and make sure they’ll stick with you for more than a short tenure, too.

All of this serves to put incentive travel in a new light. Quite frankly, it makes a convincing case, in fact, that incentive travel can emerge as a hero solution that many a CEO or C-suite leader should tap as they sketch out 2023 strategies and plans.

In this new era of quiet quitting, incentive travel can prove to be a golden solution that lets us have our cake and eat it, too.

In what has to be one of the better quotes included in a New York Times article as of late, one journalist described a TikTok meme she’s fond of, as part of her take on the new “hardcore” ask being made of Twitter employees.

“I don’t want to be a girlboss. I don’t want to hustle. I simply want to live my life slowly and lay down in a bed of moss with my lover and enjoy the rest of my existence reading books, creating art and loving myself and the people in my life,” the journalist quotes.

While (most) incentive programs maybe aren’t quite as moss-filled as this TikToker envisions, the pursuit of quality leisure time (and lots of it) is certainly one of the top priorities incentive qualifiers expect as part of a trip. Opportunities to make priceless memories with the people you love is another staple of such programs.

The catch still for some, though, lies in the “girlboss” portion of the quote. As the NYT piece also states:

“[Musk’s] embrace of “extremely hard core” isn’t just out of step with the national mood; it’s revealing about an old model of leadership we’re trying to move on from … Even before the pandemic, many white-collar Americans were starting to rethink their relationships to work. Persistent income inequality, enduring racial and gender discrimination, disillusionment with the capitalist promise — “hustle culture” was a catchy slogan, but was any of this really worth it?”

Most of us can’t afford to simply “not work,” as the NYT journalist points out — and as most of us would consider simply common knowledge.

But the ways we’re thinking about work overall, and how work overall fits into the rest of our lives has been irrevocably altered, especially over the past few years. This is also often with an eye toward rejecting some of the toxic positivity and other hangers-on that “hustle culture” has introduced into many a workplace.

Incentive travel, then, may also need to make some shifts to truly live up to this billing as a golden solution. It’s no longer just about selling more and reaching ambitious growth-at-all-costs-focused goals, especially on a planet also increasingly concerned with overconsumption and the sustainability of our purchasing habits.

By focusing on what asks qualification schemes are making of talent and the inherent assumptions (and even biases) behind them, we can encourage pursuing more meaningful targets through incentive programs.

It’s time for us to get creative and figure out what other metrics we can track, beyond sales figures, to encourage and reward the kind of corporate behaviors we really want to see from our teams and from one another.

We can focus on qualification schemes that champion personal growth on top of other more traditional KPIs and shared company metrics; we can focus on ensuring that how we craft incentives lends itself to encouraging more holistic, thoughtful, meaningful ways of working that today’s rejiggered world requires.

This can also make incentive travel more expansive, and open its use to more teams across a company or to new qualifiers yet to be wooed over to its transformational potential.

Despite the doom-and-gloom headlines that seem to dominate workplace coverage, there’s still plenty of reasons to be cheerful about incentive travel and its myriad power and potential.

It’s a motivational solution that provides the better balance employees are seeking, as long as we craft the entire incentive journey the right way. Incentive travel continues to shine bright for those willing to explore its full potential, as we look ahead to a new year and to plenty of exciting destinations waiting to be explored.

Written by

Sydney Nolan

Sydney Nolan


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