No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

What Happened Next? Fresh Ways To Motivate Staff. By Sarah Fletcher


Smiling crowd Finding activities to inspire unmotivated staff can prove difficult. In the next edition of this new series What happened next? we report on the results and lessons learned by a member who sought solace in the Any Answers forum. By Sarah Fletcher

Motivating staff - anyone been to circus school?

“I'm looking for ways to give a serious injection of oomph into a lacklustre sales team. I am thinking along the lines of finding someone to teach them juggling skills and a bit of close up magic to engage them and give the wow factor. They have had the Fish! video before but lack of follow up meant it didn't really happen, and they need to be given relevant ways to play.

"They work on a shop floor so a lovely team-building day is out of the question.

"I have run a check on circus schools, but it seems they just do the full set of skills including trapeze work, I can't find anyone to come into the business to teach slightly less risky activities! Any ideas where I should head to?

"If you have a better idea I would really like to hear it. Also, how do you begin to measure oomph and wow?”

Read the original post

Nikki Brun

What happened next?

“I was very surprised at the level of interest generated. I am in the process of a TNA, but thought I'd ask the TrainingZONE community for their thoughts - they clearly think a lot! My original question seemed to get a bit lost in translation. I wanted to given them ways to play (i.e. juggle small items of stock etc) so they felt they could have fun in true Fish! style.”

Which sources of information did you find the most useful?

“The reminders that management need to get involved too.”

What would you have done differently with hindsight?

“Not given it the title "Has anyone been to circus school"! I wish I'd have emphasised the point that taking the team was out of the question (how did fire walking come into it?!), and I was looking for ways to measure oomph and wow. No one suggested ways of measurement, although I was constantly reminded to measure somehow - expect another question up soon!”

Was the outcome satisfactory for all parties?

“This is an ongoing project. Ask me again in three months!

“It is still at the thinking stage as the budget decision maker is on holiday. The majority of staff seem to love the idea, and the management are all for it. It is a bit frustrating as the managers and I just want to get on with it, but what can you do? I remain optimistic that something will come out of it though.”

Any other learning points?

“The fact that this generated so much debate is a wonderful thing. It just goes to show that one of the best resources we have is each other and I am always very grateful for the responses I get.”

Advice offered by members:
  • Rus Slater questions the business benefits of this strategy – is this really what they need? “In my experience the best you generally get from “fun” events like this is a happy time but little business result.” He advises "more directly relevant activities.”
  • Garry Platt cites the recent incident in which a top City accountancy firm found its bonding exercise literally go up in smoke – burns and hospital visits resulted in the event organisers paying almost £8,000 for breaching health and safety laws. This just shows what happens if you play with fire.
  • Nik Kellingley questions how a circus skills course will help staff to sell. He advises looking at training, or saving your money and sending employees to the pub!
  • Nigel Higgs thinks such programmes are great for self development and socialising, and will improve morale and motivation.
  • John Owens says “All sales people relish new experiences to talk about, so don’t “diss” the gimmicky stuff too much.”
  • Karen Drury underlines the difficulties of proving directly that training adds value to a company. She advocates a team building course as a way of teaching timing and balance.
  • Shelley Upton finds that “some injection of fun rarely comes amiss.”
  • Jonathan Sindall stresses the importance of involving employees in strategy decisions and helping them to understand how they contribute to business success – showing you value their input can be hugely motivating.
  • Euphrosene Labon claims that poor team performance is often due to weak product or management decisions.
  • Teresa Garfield believes success lies in showing staff the consequences of excellent performance and outstanding results.
  • John Owens asks the shop floor to spontaneously burst into song! Much more musical than “standing about chatting to their mates and ignoring the potential customer” – and much more entertaining!

View other What Happened Next features:

Related Any Answers posts:

Have you suffered a similar experience? Please post your comments about this member’s problem using the form below.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!