EXCLUSIVE: Technology organisation Snow Software has taken 650 of its global employees to Engelberg, Switzerland to celebrate achieving its annual sales target, as well as to support its employee engagement and teambuilding strategies.
The employer-funded ski trip is taking place between Saturday 13 January and Tuesday 16 January 2018, with 650 of Snow Software’s 720 global employees being flown to the ski resort in Engelberg. All employees based across the organisation’s 23 operating countries were invited to attend, including those who work on a part-time basis, work from home, or are currently on parental leave.
The ski trip is part of Snow Software’s annual sales incentive, which is aligned with the organisation’s values, internally known as Snow Spirits. In particular, the incentive is linked to the value of ‘being all in for the win’, emphasising the teamwork and cohesion across the business that is required in order to hit the target. If the target is met, the organisation redefines its employees as ‘The Gold Team’, rewarding them with the Engelberg ski trip.
The holiday is also designed to connect employees within the business, with staff from different countries and business functions being mixed across the three hotels used by the organisation, as well as during planned activities.
Prior to the ski trip, employees can select a range of activities to take part in during the break. The range of options includes beginner ski classes, guided monastery tours, spa trips, ice sculpture building and dinner groups. The majority of the physical activities offered are planned to encourage teamwork and competition.
During the trip, Snow Software also holds a celebratory presentation, featuring different speakers, to look back on the successes achieved during the past year, as well as looking ahead the coming year. This year, the organisation will also present a fundraising award to the group of employees who raised the most money for children’s charity We See Hope.
Snow Software has run its global incentive scheme for nine years. To date, it has reached its target and held the corresponding ski trip seven times. The organisation plans a ski trip to resonate with its name and the snow connection.
The ski trip is communicated to employees throughout the year as part of its organisation-wide communications. It is also discussed at interviews and during the organisation’s on-boarding process. In quarter four, the level of communications around the trip is increased to include weekly updates from the chief executive officer, updating staff on how close they are to hitting the target, as well as encouraging employees to share stories and pictures from previous trips.
Snow Software has employees based in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, UK and the US, all of whom are eligible to participate in the trip.
Eva Lessing, vice president, human resources at Snow Software, said: “It’s definitely embedded into our culture. It’s part of who we are. It’s a way to live our Snow Spirit, the values. In terms of driving innovation, connecting people from different functions and different countries creates better products and services for our customers. I would say the biggest outcome is engagement, connectedness, and focus on our customers. […] The investment we make in this and the return [means] it’s so worth it.
“Some of our smaller offices sometimes feel that ‘we’re so few [people]’, but then when we meet [in Engelberg], everyone connects and everyone [employees have] been talking to on the phone, emailing or skyping [meets, it means] we form some very close connections and it’s so much easier. We see that these trips [carry] through the energy and the connectedness throughout the year, so that people don’t hesitate to ask for help or give help between countries. The whole thing is about connecting people in different ways.
“We have a really tough target, and if we hit that, we are extraordinary. When we are extraordinary, we get to be [the] Gold Team and then we deserve to celebrate in style. The rest of the year we focus on the customer, but this weekend, we will recognise our own achievements.”