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Social activities are built into working week

Published on Friday, 08 Jul 2011
Simon Nowroz
President and managing director for Asia-Pacific, Travelport

How do you get staff engaged and excited about your brand?


As a global technology provider with over 40 offices and 3,500 staff, we understand full well that a company's success inevitably lies in its people. Your staff are the face of your brand - they're out interacting with customers and communicating your value proposition on a daily basis. It's important then that they're excited and engaged about your brand.  


Employee engagement is fuelled by many factors - including staff recognition, personal development and incentives - but perhaps the most rewarding is the sense of community they feel in the workplace. This sense of belonging drives motivation and inspires them to take on new challenges, overcome obstacles and deliver wins both on a personal level and for the company. 


Creating a sense of community within a company is not always a simple task and develops over time, provided you have the right ingredient. At Travelport, social activities such as dim sum lunches and Friday afternoon drinks are regularly built into the working week. Wellness is also another key focus and we encourage staff to get active with group hikes, badminton matches and participation in the annual Dragon Boat Festival races. We have a much more supportive work environment as a result, and staff do genuinely become invested in the future successes of the company.

At the start of the year, we decided to take this employee engagement to another level. We have a young team in Hong Kong who are passionate about what they do and keen to take on whatever's thrown at them. We brainstormed ways we could take this excitement about our brand to the wider travel trade, not only to our customers but also our industry colleagues. We wanted to interact more with our peers and connect with them in a relaxed, social setting.

When we heard that a number of industry members were meeting casually to play football, we saw the opportunity to formalise the gatherings into a proper tournament. In April, the first ever Travelport Football Cup for the travel industry was born.

The football competition involved players from travel companies, including Jebsen Travel, Nan Hwa Express and Westminster Travel. The teams competed in a round-robin tournament, playing twice a week at a variety of venues. Post-match, teams would debrief, socialise and catch up over drinks. We'll also be holding a celebratory dinner next month to raise funds for Tung Wah Group, which provides much-needed welfare services for the community. 

Feedback and results 

The Travelport Football Cup has been a great success, not only as a team-building exercise among staff, but also as a fantastic networking opportunity. It has allowed us to connect with customers on a personal level away from the office and in the field. We're delighted to see this humble human-resources exercise blossom into a meaningful way to give back to the community.

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