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Staff Member gets a Monday Morning Bath in a Ball Pit


Steve Thompson, managing director of a leading marketing recruitment consultancy in the North West of England, incentivised a marketing executive to use social media to build up his company’s profile. The process began as tongue-in-cheek challenge, but grew into a successful example of the ‘Carrot and Stick’ management approach.

After reading an article about a man who had converted his desk area into a ball pit Rachel Ayre, Marketing Executive at Manchester-based digital recruitment specialists Forward Role, was challenged by her manager to get 1,000 likes on LinkedIn over the weekend in return for her very own ball pit at her desk.

Given the importance to companies of building up social and professional networks, especially for a company like Forward Role who rely on a strong online business profile, this was no throwaway task; it was genuinely valuable to Forward Role as a business.

Having appealed for support in spreading the word from other marketing professionals, Rachel returned to the office on Monday morning with over 1,400 likes and 100+ comments.

‘Carrot and Stick’ management entails providing both an incentive to staff when they reach targets, along with the threat of punishment when specific expectations are not met. The idiom was originally referenced in the 1890s, but was adopted for use in a Political and Managerial context in the 1970s.

There is continued debate as to whether using positive or negative reinforcement is the more motivational. The ‘stick’ can include ‘punishments’ such as public shaming or threats of reduction in pay if employees fail in their tasks, and it is generally accepted that a greater incentive for staff is the promise of reward to good work, rather than punishment for bad.

Steve says that in the Forward Role office, the ‘stick’ is rarely used; “I’m not a believer in putting negative pressure on my staff, I’ve seen it done in other offices and it’s always struck me as an act of desperation from managers who aren’t able to get the best out of their staff.

“I’m aware that different people have different motivations, but I’ve always found my staff react well to encouragement and recognition when they perform well, knowing in future they’ll receive that same pat on the back.”

Having worked in marketing and communications for several years, Rachel is familiar with the techniques used by managers to motivate their staff, however this reward far surpassed the usual workplace incentives she had encountered.

Rachel said: “As I walked in the office on Monday morning, imagine my excitement as I found my desk area fenced off and filled with hundreds of colourful balls.”

Rachel’s original article is available to read on the Forward Role website.


Notes to editors:

Forward Role Recruitment is a Recruitment Consultancy based in the North West of the UK, specialising in Marketing, Analytics and Digital Recuitment sectors. They work with some of the UK’s biggest brands, with over 20 years experience in the Industry.


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