// for island-based businesses who are striving to build a strong corporate culture on a budget.Corporate Culture is no longer simply a buzzword bandied around in just the boardroom. USP’s of companies and their ethos are not only being rolled out to customers and clients but also internally, so all employees live, eat and breathe the corporate dream in one cohesive, coordinated movement.The employee perks seen at the likes of corporate giants such as Google are attempted to be replicated in many other offices throughout the world in a bid to somehow harness the success that creates in the copycat’s own business.

Should businesses budget for ball pits and puppies?

It seems that the approach of a workplace with a playground atmosphere is at the top of every employee’s wish list when choosing somewhere to work which is in turn causing employers who don’t have Google’s budget, quite a headache.Social Chain, a global social media company, has embraced this very issue by appointing a new Director of Happiness whose sole purpose seems to be to come up with ideas such as ball pits and puppies in the office.So, is this just some bizarre nouveau happy clappy millennial bullsh*t dressed up as valid and constructive talent management with a dash of employee rewards and incentives thrown into the mix, or is it actually a bona fide requirement in a workplace in the modern era? Is the yearly discretionary bonus and a good old-fashioned, “Thanks for a job well done” from the Director, so outdated?Thank YouInternet-based “Perkbox” would seem to think that the bonus just isn’t enough. Perkbox state that being given a “fun badge” to “recognise awesome work” and then getting a “premium reward” is the way forward and in turn can help, “build a happier, more productive company culture.”

Motivate Individuals rather than the masses

Chris King, Aftersales Manager at Mercedes Benz absolutely disagrees. He leads a sales team that require constant motivation to consistently exceed targets and as such, Chris has realised, after many years of doing this that the “one size fits all” approach, doesn’t work and each target incentive needs to be personalised for the individual.He even goes so far as to state that the monetary value of the reward is irrelevant. Chris recalls one particular team member who won the monthly sales competition. Chris had taken the time to get to know the employee and discovered he was very fond of a certain alcoholic beverage which he rarely had as it was hard to find in the UK at that time, so he bought the employee a litre bottle of this drink but bought it with a personalised bottle label.It was a simple idea, at a relatively low cost (only £5 on top of the cost of the alcohol for the personalisation) but the employee was so chuffed with his reward, that once the bottle was empty, it was filled with something else and is still on display in that guy’s home.

“King’s thinking is that where someone has obviously put some thought into your needs and wants above their own, it makes that person feel special.”

He believes in this approach so much that this month, the winner of the latest sales drive has been promised King’s company car for the weekend.

Cornetto and a Cuppa

Personally, I don’t think I’d ever get to a point where I could feel comfortable arsing around in a ball pit in front of my colleagues and Directors nor am I really a dog person. I also kind of feel like getting a “special badge” in an app from a work colleague could be a bit patronising.Well DoneI’d rather have a manager who notices when the sun is shining outside and decides to decamp our latest meeting down to the Villa Marina Gardens complete with a cheeky Cornetto. Even having a Director who takes it upon themselves to make all team members a cup of tea in the middle of a busy working day would be enough for me because, as King says, it’s the small meaningful gestures that show you’re valued as an employee as opposed to the slide that gets you from the corporate department to the meeting room on the bottom floor in a fun way, that will make you want to stay in a job.

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