(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) December 2, 2010 - In 2010 the Sunday Times named Softcat the UK's Best Small Company To Work For. This is a tremendous achievement, and naturally Softcat wants to retain this position for 2011.
Part of the criteria for the award was, obviously, how Softcat treats its staff.
Having amazing incentive trips that inspire and motivate staff was essential. Human Resources is also very positive about the usefulness of incentive trips to retain and reward staff.
Another part of the criteria for the Sunday Times award is demonstrating support and assistance to the community.
Could all of these objectives be achieved in an incentive trip?
A Socially Responsible Incentive Trip from Hands Up Holidays
Softcat turned to Hands Up Holidays for help.
Hands Up had already provided Softcat with a similar trip in Fiji previously, and so knew it was in good hands. In Fiji, Softcat sent 34 top performing staff to experience a luxury trip blending a luxury cruise with building a house and a playground. The house was for an impoverished family of 8, and the playground was at an orphanage.
The interaction with the children made this a memorable and enriching trip for all participants.
Softcat's democratic management style meant that the management team voted again to experience another incentive that counts.
This time, they chose Cambodia and Vietnam, and Hands Up Holidays prepared the entire itinerary for them.
The incentive that counts - Cambodia
The incentive was for 37 of the top performing employees, and the community service portion was in Siem Reap, site of Angkor Wat and the amazing temples there. The group got to appreciate these wonders, even managed to get up at sunrise after a gala dinner the night before!
The following day, the group arrived at Sra Srang primary school, were somewhat overwhelmed by the welcome they received when the whole school came out to greet them, with songs and dance, but the group knew the reason they were there was to roll up their sleeves, so that is what they did.
They chose their preferred activity, with some focusing on the painting of the classrooms, others on gardening, and still others on building the library.
It was an amazing sight to behold, and there was still time for the groups to take turns on a guided tour through the village, seeing daily life far removed from what tourists normally see, and also get to play football with the kids.
The group spent two sweaty days here, and despite subsequently cruising down the Mekong and spending three nights at the sublime Six Senses resort in Nha Trang, from a post-trip survey, universally the most popular and poignant part of the trip was the time spent helping at the school.
In the same survey, 74% of respondents rated this their best trip ever (and they do a lot of trips!) and the rest rated it as very good.
“Once we had finished the project, we played a huge game of football. There were nearly 50 people on the pitch, and the kids were incredible. Five-year-olds in bare feet tackled us fearlessly. The children’s English was remarkably good, mostly because after school they are sent to sell postcards and other souvenirs to the tourists visiting nearby temples.”
Martin Hellawell, managing director, Softcat, commented, “Many of us take education for granted. This is our way of giving something back. And the trip gave our employees an insight into the local culture – they are thrilled to have experienced that first-hand in Cambodia.”
And did the students and the community benefit?
Softcat donated $20000 to the school, which went on building a new roof to replace the leaking one, thus providing employment to local expert builders, who also oversaw the library construction. There were funds left over to buy books for the library, set up a scholarship for older children to be able to attend high school along with uniforms, and bikes to get there.
Truly a win win trip!
Why socially responsible incentive trips work for companies:
- Retain, reward and motivate staff
- Improve staff loyalty
- Team Building spinoffs
- Positive ROI
- Enhanced CSR reputation