Chasing more? Link your people with their passions

Let’s not quibble. A positive workplace culture fosters people. And it’s their power and passion that lifts you from being a standard operator to an industry leader. 

But are you really thanking them the way they want to be thanked? 

Across radical startup cultures to established corporations, there are numerous models used to shape the way you thank and incentivise your people. Which one is best? First, let’s back-up a little. What should be recognised? What should you give them? When should you give it? Three great questions, but there’s only one real question you need to ask (and I stress you need to ask your people, not yourself) – “What would you like?”

In our rush to organise, manage and monitor workplace incentive programs, it’s often forgotten that we are, after all, people. Each of us has our own distinct loves, hates, needs and wants that fuel the very passion you’re looking to ramp up. Hmm… so how do you cater to that, get the most from your people and build a positive workplace culture? You ask…

1.    Have open two-way communication

Transparency builds trust, which brings everyone closer together. Of course you draw the line at sensitive, personal matters (like compensation and personal reviews), but for everything else to do with incentives, rewards and recognition - open up. In a transparent workplace, people make better decisions, feel more involved and are invested in outcomes. That can only be a good thing for business.

If you’re a small team it’s easy to have meetings or hallway standups to get feedback and opinions. If you’re larger, there are many scalable digital approaches and message boards. People can vote up the incentives they’re most interested in and then the top contenders are discussed at an open meeting. RedBalloon has more than 3500 memorable experiences, gifts and vouchers – of varying values, meaning and personalisation – and they’re all purpose-built for creating your own customised people-centered incentive program.

2.   Regularly check your pulse

The trust you build by being open pays off if you hit a bump in the road. Similarly, people have hiccups. By regularly asking what your people want and need you’re creating an incentive program that (although it sounds tempting) will never be a set-and-forget job. And that’s the way it should be.

Check in with your people and see how things have changed. Do they want new incentives, different referral structures, more, less, bigger, smaller, experiential…? There are so many ways RedBalloon can help you, so the more information you’ve gained from asking, you can then share with us – ensuring the program evolves to satisfy even the hardest of challenges.

3.   Refer and recommend each other

Great teams aren’t individuals stuck together. They’re people with shared values, direction and belief in each other. So why not encourage that? When people nominate one another – be it for an award, to show appreciation or recognise efforts – it builds camaraderie and uncovers great work that’s often unseen by management.

Working best on a grassroots level, an open referral and recommendation system generally includes smaller incentives and gifts that RedBalloon can help you structure into competitions, cumulative tiered levels or simple ‘out-of-the-blue’ rewards for a job well done… or even ‘just because.’


Di Mace is a freelance story-making brand writer, strategist and purpose-digger. She turns boring brand messages into content and stories that matter. Find her at