Cato Syversen Interview | Incentive & Motivation

How important are staff events when it comes to employee motivation? And is there an ROI when it comes to staff events? We wanted to take a look at some key ideas before you wipe staff events from your 2018 reward budget. We picked up with Cato Syversen, CEO, Creditsafe to get the views from a business that invest heavily in this area – can you imagine going away with 849 other people on a conference to Majorca? (If you can, and want to – it could be time for an interview at Creditsafe.)

Creditsafe are known for quirks – Syversen and over 15 employees have tattooed Creditsafe’s logo on themselves – a great sign of commitment and an ‘ROI’ on engagement!

Cato Syversen Interview | Incentive & Motivation
Cato Syversen

Many businesses go the extra mile at the end of the year to thank and reward their staff in the form of a Christmas bonus, a few days extra holiday, a free bar at the staff party or a bottle of champagne left on employees’ desks – but what about the rest of the year? It’s not just Christmas. There can be a whole raft of staff events taking place throughout the year, whether its monthly drinks, summer parties, staff away days or team building exercises.

How do you evaluate staff events  – in short, is it worth building them into your annual cycle and budget?

“From our experience, the answer is a resounding yes! As the chief executive of a business with a large sales team, I believe you can’t underestimate the importance and impact of having a motivated and happy team – it is worth its weight in gold.”

What do you do at Creditsafe in terms of engagement through events?

“We take employee engagement very seriously and it is one of my primary responsibilities at Creditsafe.

At Creditsafe, we see this dynamic at work every day. We invest in our people and we reap the benefits. In a recent employee engagement survey, 85 per cent of staff said they love working for the company and we have a significantly low staff turnover amongst our sales team.

For example, every couple of years, we take our staff away for a group-wide conference in an exciting destination. This year, more than 850 staff from across the business went to Alcudia, Majorca. Five years prior, we took a similar number of employees away and people still talk about the weekend and the impact it had on them. At a glance, you may think it is a huge extravagance to fly employees from the UK, Sweden, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, USA, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands to Majorca and something that you could never justify but we believe the knock-on effect is considerable. Our staff have a wonderful time together, exchanging ideas, connecting and celebrating achievements. The weekend energises them and makes them feel valued (which they are).”

What is the evidence out there for employee disengagement? 

“For an employee to be engaged, there are a number of core areas that must be addressed. Officevibe’s State of Employee Engagement report says employees need to receive recognition; have a forum for feedback; be happy, healthy and satisfied; have opportunities for personal growth; have strong relationships with managers and colleagues and understand and align themselves with the company philosophy.

According to Officevibe, 63 per cent of employees feel like they don’t get enough praise; 34 per cent of employees don’t think they have enough social interaction with their colleagues and 33 per cent of employees don’t believe their company’s core values align with their personal values.

The stakes are high. More than half (57 per cent) of employees wouldn’t recommend their organisation as a good place to work and 15 per cent of employees don’t see themselves working at their company one year from now. If employees act on these feelings then businesses will be finding themselves facing the unnecessary burden and stress of recruiting and training up new staff. This is costly in terms of time and money and also morale. A team gets discouraged every time a colleague resigns and it takes time to adjust to new people. Overall, factoring in staff events throughout the year, pays off in the long run as it improves staff retention and also productivity.”

What ROI can be expected?

“According to Officevibe, highly engaged businesses see a 20 per cent increase in sales.They can provide opportunities to publicly praise and recognise team members. They can be fun and allow employees to relax together and they can give management a chance to communicate company values in an informal way.”

Should businesses start small – a weekend away – or go for a big conference, a la Creditsafe?

“A weekend away is just one approach. There are so many other options but what is really important is prioritising employee engagement and creating a calendar of activities which demonstrates to your team they are top of your agenda.”

With thanks to Cato Syversen, CEO, Creditsafe.