HR Strange But True!
July 19, 2007

Yes, you can now tell employees to take a hike, jump off a cliff, or even swim with the sharks, and it's perfectly acceptable--it can even be motivational!

What are we talking about? It's an employee incentive--"gifts of experience" from Excitations (, a Washington, DC-based company that says these experiences are new and exciting ways to inspire, reward, and rejuvenate workers.

Among the other experiences are hang gliding (hence the cliff), skydiving, helicopter and fighter plane rides, driving a Formula 2000 race car, and whitewater rafting. Animal lovers can play elephant keeper at a zoo or swim with the sharks at an aquarium.

For the less adventurous, there is a day-long lesson in glass blowing, a hike with paleontologists, a seat backstage at the New York Pops, or even the chance to record a song.

These incentive/experiences are even more unique in that they are aimed at "motivating the middle," according to Kim AuBuchon, CEO of Excitations. "These gifts are used to reward the support team and all the people who contribute to the success of the company's top performers, who are typically the only ones to get gifts.

The most popular corporate gifts at Excitations are the corporate packages, such as paintball competitions or a day on a dude ranch, where employees can play "City Slicker."

"We've found that awarding experiences has a much greater impact that the pre-paid credit cards we previously used," says Bridgette Atkinson, senior vice president of HR at GTSI, Inc., who created "Unsung Heroes Awards" using Excitations prizes.

We are just wondering--is a day of ice fishing really a reward?

Source: Excitations

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