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IMG_1153At RedBalloon we believe in setting big goals and really celebrating our achievements, so when August rolls around (summer in the north, winter in Sydney), we’re taking all 60 employees on a tropical three-day weekend to Port Douglas. We are turning winter into summer.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not just shipping everyone off to make sure they hit their Vitamin D requirements – there’s an indisputable business argument for rewarding your people in this way. Stay with me.

At the start of each financial year we select a theme (based on the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish) – something everyone can relate to, get excited about and feel they can contribute to. The aim is to align all employees with our strategic plans for the year and use this theme to drive our people behind our financial targets. If those targets are met, everyone is rewarded.

In the words of our CEO Kristie Buchanan, “RedBalloon is leading a happiness revolution – one amazing experience at a time! We believe everyone deserves to have fun, feel good and be happy. Put simply, we are in the business of fun and are passionate about giving people ‘good times’.” This is our purpose and we deliver on it by creating happy customers, happy suppliers and happy employees. To deliver on this purpose, the first half of this financial year was themed around delivering “Customer Love”. The theme was based on aligning everyone with our use of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) – if we increased our NPS, we knew we were creating more happy customers, and therefore delivering on our financial goals. After all, happy people = happy customers = happy profits. If that financial goal is met by the end of June (which it will be), we’re all headed for the tropics.

In 2011-2012, Fraser Island was the reward at the end of the financial year tunnel. Our theme was “Grow” and required that each individual stretch themselves by undertaking 90 hours of training or “growing” during the financial year. Our thought process behind this was fairly simple: if we encourage our people to grow, the output of that personal growth will be delivered in business growth. So we let the team know that if they grew and we delivered 10 percent over our desired EBITDA target for the year, we’d take the whole team on a three-day experience to Fraser Island for some sun, swimming, 4WDing, sunsets and dingos. We kept the team focused and engaged throughout the year with mini “Grow” events that acted as a constant reminder of the reward to come. We hit our target and before we knew it, Sydney airport was overtaken by a gaggle of excited RedBallooners.

After three days sunning ourselves and enjoying a host of experiences on the island, we returned to the office the following week with a renewed focus for the new financial year. The office was buzzing for months after the getaway, and the excitement is again building as our trip to Port Douglas approaches.

A getaway is a great way to bring a summery vibe to the office and encourage bonding with your team. We are so focused on being a great place to work and ensuring we foster great relationships among our people, and I would encourage everyone to consider a reward structure like this when considering goals for the new Financial Year. An experience like a getaway will stay with your people a lot longer than that monetary bonus that gets swallowed up by the car, house or credit card repayments.

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