Why incentive travel will be more important than ever to the future of work

A new year always signals a new wave of predictions as to what the next 365 days will hold. In this sea of insights, a post from Dr. Ciela Hartanov, a human behavior expert and the former Head of Practice, Innovation, & Strategy at Google, jumped out — especially since we as incentive travel professionals are perfectly positioned to serve up answers to three critical questions she raises about the future of work (no Google searching required!).  

Rethinking culture

It’s not about when/if/how the office will remerge, states Dr. Hartanov. The better question, she says, is “how does cultural fabric continue to be weaved when there are no clear or common ways for connecting?”

One answer should be instantly obvious for this audience: incentive travel. The kinds of experiences we craft as incentive travel professionals are fantastic ways of weaving this cultural fabric Dr. Hartanov stresses — and provide clear, common ways for connecting.

Organizational culture, Dr. Hartanov goes on to describe, is shaped by purpose. By designing programs and experiences that have purposeful goals at their center, our industry will easily make the case for itself over and over again as one with an integral role to play in helping organizations stay close-knit.

Reflecting back employee demands

“It is not just about more pay or more security,” writes Dr. Hartanov further down, “but a demand for organizations to rethink what they are to employees and society alike.”

This “Great Reawaking” is something MICE professionals have been incorporating into our work for years now. Still, it’s increasingly urgent to work with clients when crafting programs to ensure the things Dr. Hartanov says employees are prioritizing more than ever — safety, caring, security, and a “more actualized organization that cares about the existential crises facing society” — feature prominently in events, agendas, and itineraries.

Redefining leadership expectations

Managers’ roles must shift, explains Dr. Hartanov, in the final part of her post. Managers will need to become curators, conveners, and carers. It’s this middle word — convener — that seemingly points to managers further emerging as excellent partners we can tap when looking to shape incentive and motivational experiences.

Equally important in getting this new management equation right is rethinking the often-overwhelming set of expectations managers have historically been saddled with. Dr. Hartanov advocates for managers to “focus most squarely on where they are essential” rather than try to shoehorn themselves into a half-dozen or more roles. We’re obviously a bit biased, but it’s hard to think of a more powerful opportunity for a management board or leadership team to reinforce their roles, align on purpose, and have focused and intentional conversations than a powerful incentive trip…

Dr. Hartanov’s musings are just a start in what we know incentive travel can do and how it can influence the ways we work. We look forward to celebrating all of the many transformative, empowering moments our community is set to create throughout 2022!

Written by

SITE Staff


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