Gerry Clifford, Global Head of Events at Colt
Colt’s most significant reward programme for employees is Ace Connect. In normal times, Colt’s top performers are announced at our annual Sales Kick Off which takes place at the beginning of the year. This year, our winners and their partners were all set to go to Tanzania in late March but unfortunately due to the spread of Coronavirus the trip had to be cancelled.
Despite the cancellation, it was important for me that not only did we honour our winners, but also the wider community commitments we made as part of this trip of a lifetime.
For the winners. As this is the award to win at Colt, attained by demonstrating outstanding service and sales acumen, we needed the new virtual prize to reflect that. A virtual store has been launched for our winners so they can choose several prizes across multiple categories to reward themselves and their families. These include high-end merchandise and global travel vouchers.
During the trip, we also recognise our winners at an award ceremony. This year we had to shift the event to being virtual, however prior to the change we had commissioned local business Shanga – which creates products from recycled materials – to design and produce bespoke glass blown trophies in teal recycled glass for each Ace winner. These trophies are now being shipped back to the UK where we will then get them to the winners.
Another important aspect of the Ace Trip is the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) part of event. As the Global Head of Events at Colt, I have been conscious for some time about the impact that events have on the environment and the wider world around us. Ace has always had a strong CSR element, where the participants often go into a local community and offer up their time where it’s needed. This year, we were planning to gift and install a water tank to a local school, and I’m excited to say we’re still honouring that commitment.
In order to ensure we offset the large footprint created for international flights for 130 people to Tanzania, we planted 1000 Mvule Trees. The Mvule tree is one of the most efficient trees in the world for capturing carbon. Even though we never travelled I am proud that these trees have still been planted.
Finally, Colt is also making a £5k donation to the Serengeti National Park, to support the park in caring for the wild animals and to compensate them for all the lost visitor fees we would have paid during our time there.
For us, the honouring of our commitments for both our partners who would have helped us deliver the Ace Trip, as well as the winners of the trip, speaks to how we want to ethically hold events at Colt. This is something we have been investing in for some time, but this period of immense change has led us all to think a lot more about our impact. The events sector has been hit really hard by how the world has changed, we need to be more creative, resilient and positive for both those who our events serve, and also the wider events community we work with.