The Central Intelligence Agency motivates canine staff with playtime

Credit: Central Intelligence Agency

Something for the weekend: It is essential that employers take into consideration their specific employee population when tailoring a motivation strategy. For example, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) motivates its explosive detection K9 unit puppies by offering extra playtime, additional breaks and a choice of kibble.

The puppies, who work alongside human handlers, are trained in how to detect explosive odours, however a hard day at the office leads to dog psychologists implementing different motivation tools to help keep the pups focused on their training.

To combat boredom, handlers and psychologists will look to motivate canine staff with extra playtime or additional challenges, while on some occasions puppies are given an extra break to help them recoup their energy. The puppies could also be given a choice of kibble at snack time in order to defeat any potential food allergies.

The motivation strategy is used when puppies are acting lazily, perhaps guessing where the odours are rather than using their skill set, or when they are showing a general disregard for human colleagues delivering the training.

Despite this inclusive motivation and engagement approach, not all puppies enjoy life as an explosive detection K9. For example, recent trainee Lulu (pictured) retired from the K9 programme this week due to a lack of interest in the job role. She was retired by the organisation in order to help improve both her physical and mental wellbeing.

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Lulu now lives with her former co-worker, who acted as her handler, and spends her days playing with the family’s children, sniffing out rabbits and squirrels instead of explosives, and enjoying her favourite foods from her own dog dish.

Here at Employee Benefits, we think the CIA’s motivation strategy is perfect for this specific workforce. As an editorial team, we feel our tailored motivation strategy should probably include cake and access to our own personal coffee shop…