Sky rewards staff with festival of fun

Sky is rewarding its employees for delivering strong results in tough times with Skyfest – an ambitious music and entertainment festival.

This follows on from awarding all permanent staff members 100 free shares in January to vest in 2012, giving them a stake in the future success of the business to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary this year.

The first two-day event rolled out in July and the Scottish equivalent takes place in September.

In total, over 20,000 people – employees, friends and families – are projected to attend.

Activities relate to Sky’s arts and charity partners
Many of the activities taking place relate directly to Sky’s arts and charity partners such as English National Ballet (ENB) and Global Action Plan.

Whether it’s the opportunity to stand on a replica of Anthony Gormley’s fourth plinth (the full-sized project in Trafalgar Square is sponsored by Sky Arts), create art from recycled satellite dishes or listen to a choir of Sky employees tutored by English National Opera, there’s no shortage of imaginative entertainment on offer.

The London event also encompassed successfully breaking a Guinness World Record for the ‘Largest Game of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’.

Despite tough invigilation from an official Guinness World Record adjudicator (who discounted 123 people for not doing the actions properly) some 1,252 people were cajoled to participate – safely beating the previous record of 1,217 people taking part in the previous record in Taiwan last year.

Voted a success by staff
Organised by leading event management agency, The Rouge Partnership, Skyfest London has already been voted a success by employees. On Friday 17th July, it was over-18s only, with entertainment from Will Young, DJ Seb Fontaine and outrageous comedy from Frankie Boyle.

On Saturday 18th July, employees brought their family along to experience entertainment to suit all ages and tastes, with music from Bjˆrn Again and Metronomes Steel Orchestra, dance-classes with the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ stars, a chance to meet the kids’ favourite characters and even a funfair.

Skyfest was a result of staff, at both Sky’s London and Scottish offices, being asked what they wanted from an employee reward event. In London, some staff requested a family-friendly festival, while others wanted a kid-free zone – so they got both. In Scotland, staff firmly opted for family involvement – so they are getting a two-day family-friendly festival of fun.

The business impact
In business terms, the impact and engagement levels of these activities are tracked through the entertainment company’s annual (internal) People Survey as well as through quarterly metrics such as volunteering, payroll giving and cycling take up.

This provides both a specific quarterly quantitative view of their effectiveness as well as a softer qualitative pulse check. These metrics also input into the focus, timing and messaging of future employee engagement communications.

Dev Raval, director of reward at Sky comments: “Community engagement is very important to us as a business. It’s part and parcel of what we do. Skyfest is a way of bringing our values to life by directly involving our charity partners and giving our employees an opportunity to find out about key projects first-hand. We hope they’ll be inspired to take further action themselves.

“At the same time, the event is designed to be great entertainment and enhance our employee reward package. In a challenging market place we continue to perform and we want our people to share in our success. Ultimately, it’s a highly creative, hands-on way of securing employee engagement.”

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