Incentive Travel for 6,000 Top Performers
Talk about community-building! Tiens Group, a Chinese multinational conglomerate, took 6,400 employees to France to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary. That’s the top .05% of a reported 12 million direct salespeople worldwide (think Amway business model). . . As a former incentive planner, the logistics required are mind-boggling.
The program took place in Paris and the Côte d’Azur, according to CNN and BBC stories. With help from the French national tourism board, a reported 140 hotels, and 146 motorcoaches, the coordination must have been extraordinary. Guests were treated to private visits of the Louvre and shopping experiences at chic Parisian department stores. The entire trip culminated in a parade in Nice where the employees created a record-breaking “human sentence,” spelling out the program tagline: Tiens’ Dream is Nice in the Côte d’Azur. It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like to be a participant. The company videos show happy employees, sporting Tiens branded hats and backpacks while discovering Paris, and attending gala dinner events.
I can’t help but think about what it would have been like to operate that program in New York – taking over Bloomingdales and hosting gala events from Ellis Island to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. I know our team would be working hard to make it a personal experience for each participant. Treating each guest as an individual would have been the greatest challenge. That and Midtown traffic!
In a global, direct-selling organization, this program created an exceptional opportunity to network with other salespeople, share best practices, and get behind the brand. The exchange between the best and most enthusiastic brand ambassadors must surely have generated an unforgettable shared experience, strengthening the Tiens community and driving home the brand slogan, “Better Times, Better Life.”
In an article for International Business Times, Rupert Hoogewerf of the Harun Report is quoted saying Tiens’ CEO Li Jinyuan, “is gregarious and committed to his staff. In the firm’s early days, Li once ‘sold his car to pay his workers,’ and he is able to inspire the devotion of those who work for him.” Duncan Hewitt notes, “The visit is a sign of how outward-looking China’s biggest private entrepreneurs have now become. That attitude applies to deals, not just to outings for deserving employees.”
In an environment where sales forces are increasingly far flung and often work independently, it is more and more important to create a community through communications and events. Rather than leave your best people isolated, you can choose instead to engage them, energize them, and keep them focused on the company message. Li knows this and he’s making it work for his business.