HR Strange But True!
February 07, 2008

Do you ever feel like Jackie Gleason and want to send some of your employees "to the Moon?" Hey, that's all right; they'll want to go! A new employee incentives program, Space Camp, will have them competing to go into orbit.

So, it's that time of year again and your employees have worked hard to meet departmental and personal goals. It's time your company lets them know how much you appreciate their efforts, but not with that boring recognition luncheon and some trinkets from a catalogue. These might not be things that would motivate your employees for the future. Wouldn't a mission into space be better?

Michele Leahy, director of corporate programs for Space Camp ( says that employers from around the globe are providing innovative team-building workshops or rewards for jobs well-done by giving their employees "the right stuff" at her company's Alabama facility.

"Some companies might have a theme revolving around their sales objectives. It might be 'Reach for the Stars' or 'Blast Off in 2008.' And our facilities match perfectly with that. Space and aviation intrigue a lot of people, and we offer an opportunity for them to live their dream.

"We had a group come in on a bus from Louisiana--a 7-hour bus trip--with no idea where they were going. They show up, and we've got flight suits out for them, and from that point forward, they are astronauts training for a mission!

"We like to immerse people into the role. We can give them an urgent mission from the Department of Defense, for example, where there is this urgent, dire issue of national security. In order for us to eliminate the threat, the group has been assigned by the president to take on this role and execute a successful space mission that's going to save the world."

Leahy says a natural outcome of these Space Camp activities is realization of the value in just having fun with your coworkers and enjoying the rewards of your efforts. "The team building aspect naturally comes out in this experience, but that doesn't necessarily have to be the focus," she says. "It can just be a fun experience and a great reward."

Source: BLR's Best Practices in Compensation and Benefits

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