Need to Motivate Employees? If You Harness Your Purpose, They’ll Do It Themselves
Need to Motivate Employees? If You Harness Your Pu…
Paul Marchildon

Want to help aspiring entrepreneurs in impoverished regions? Buy socks. Not just any accessories; Co… Read More

Uh-Oh, It’s March Break! How to Help Your Employees Thrive – with the Kids In Tow
Uh-Oh, It’s March Break! How to Help Your Employee…
Paul Marchildon

March break when you’re a kid: “FREEEDOMMM!!!” March break when you’re a parent: “Oh, #@&*!!” Excuse… Read More

Beyond the Break Room Poster: Values are Good for Business
Beyond the Break Room Poster: Values are Good for…
Paul Marchildon

Values are good for business. Seems a bit disingenuous, doesn’t it? And it is, if all you do is post… Read More

Boring Isn’t So Boring In a Leisure Culture: Using Boredom to Boost Productivity & Employee Motivation
Boring Isn’t So Boring In a Leisure Culture: Using…
Paul Marchildon

If necessity’s the mother of invention, the mother of innovation is…boredom. You want to see creativ… Read More

Want to Increase Employee Motivation? Treat them like Family!
Want to Increase Employee Motivation? Treat them l…
Paul Marchildon

Ask not what your employees can do for you…. That happy employees make engaged, productive employees… Read More


Need to Motivate Employees? If You Harness Your Purpose, They’ll Do It Themselves

Written by Paul Marchildon, on March 24, 2015.

Volunteers posing for picture

Want to help aspiring entrepreneurs in impoverished regions? Buy socks. Not just any accessories; Cole + Parker accessories. Proceeds from each sale fund microloans for people who cannot access traditional credit. Small amounts, sometimes as little as $25, make a huge difference for the startups and their communities – and for companies and their employees. Organizations like Cole + Parker demonstrate that pulling together for a common purpose – a purpose beyond ourselves – isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.

Why Do People Buy? Same Reason They’ll Work

You’re a thrifty, savvy, smart person. When you make a decision to purchase a product or service, what’re you looking for? The price or quality of that product or service? Sure, to a certain extent. To a larger extent, though, you are swayed by your perception of the company providing the product or service. Sixty percent of our “willingness to buy, recommend, work for, or invest in companies” is based on how we feel about the business.

When we feel good about a company, we want to be involved, to work there. We’re engaged and motivated to help them succeed. This is partly (and a big part!) why corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming much more of a priority in today’s organizations. Former Deloitte & Touche CEO Jim Copeland, Jr., says, “The best professionals in the world want to work in organizations in which they can thrive, and they want to work for companies that exhibit good corporate citizenship.”

Those motivated professionals are part of the reason values-based companies consistently outperform their competitors. This will only become more pronounced as Millennials and Gen Z enter the workforce en masse. They, perhaps more strongly than any other generation, believe work should integrate with their personal beliefs and values. It should be more than “work.”

Strong Values, Strong Company

When do people – whether in business, life, or society – pull together most? Well, it tends to be during crises. Ice storms, hurricanes, Tsunamis. They share a common purpose, a common belief, and they rise to the occasion.

Shortly after Katrina, Maritz made the decision to hold our global sales meeting in New Orleans. It was a conscious choice; a statement: “New Orleans is open for business. It’s ready for meetings and incentives again.” The meeting was a tremendous success – but it was really secondary to the overall experience. We had a two hour bus tour of the devastation, escorted by a police motorcade. It was like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie. “Horrible” doesn’t begin to describe it. I literally cried on the bus.

But how does that turn into motivation?

The next day, all 300 of us worked together to rebuild a children’s park, painting fences, planting trees, putting down mulch. We had a purpose, and we pulled together. You never forget experiences like that.

If you’re wondering how to motivate employees, this is how. Give them purpose. Or rather, let them come together with a common purpose. It doesn’t end with planting shrubs or serving meals to the homeless or extending microloans or whatever cause your people are passionate about. It stays with them and impacts their interactions, their productivity, and their engagement.

Looking for Work/Life Integration?

Paul Marchildon, an experienced Leisureologist, can work with you and your team to increase productivity by incorporating leisure into the workplace.

Purpose at Work

People can pull together as effectively through their work. At Atlantis Creative Group, we were in the middle of one of the most important pieces of business we’d ever done, an integration meeting for a major corporation. Two months to pull off a massive, and critical, 500-person meeting. No sweat. Actually, a lot of sweat. And blood and tears. Then along comes another major client who decided that they wanted to do a huge car launch. Now.

I went to the team and said, “Guys, I hate turning down business, but we’re already stretched. If we take this on, we’re going to have to really, really bust our butts for the next few months.” Then I told them about the upside: profit-sharing, bonuses – the extrinsic rewards of doing the launch – as well as the intrinsic motivators: the prestige and quality creative associated with this high-end project.

The team decided to go for it. We came together around this common goal. And our shared need for caffeine IVs. It was a tough few months, but there was also a sense of exhilaration. This turned out to be two of the most rewarding projects most of us had ever worked on, and it wasn’t because of the bonuses or other financial considerations. It was because of the shared experience. (And because both projects came off brilliantly!)

In this case, our purpose was business-related. But that’s not really what brought people together. It was the need and desire to work together; to contribute so that, collectively, we were more than the sum of our parts. Being part of a “community” effort, whether world-wide or office-wide, provides endless opportunities to invite these types of transformative experiences into your company. You may sense an ulterior motive here – and you’re absolutely right. When you create an environment in which people can pull together to achieve a common goal, whether it’s completing a tough project or reaching out into a local or global community, you get back so much more in return: loyal customers, engaged employees, warm, stylish feet. Work becomes more than work – and that’s how everyone wins.

Uh-Oh, It’s March Break! How to Help Your Employees Thrive – with the Kids In Tow

Written by Paul Marchildon, on March 3, 2015.

March Break Leisure March break when you’re a kid: “FREEEDOMMM!!!” March break when you’re a parent: “Oh, #@&*!!” Excuse my asterisk, but March Break is a near-crisis when employees have to work and their children demand nonstop fun and excitement, and you know, adult supervision. Crisis? …or opportunity to test leisureology and show employees you care about their work/life integration?

Beyond the Break Room Poster: Values are Good for Business

Written by Paul Marchildon, on February 24, 2015.

Values Values are good for business. Seems a bit disingenuous, doesn’t it? And it is, if all you do is post a set of values on your website and call it a day. But when you live them – when they’re incorporated and entwined through every facet of your culture – they’re your best asset and your biggest differentiator. Values-based companies consistently outperform the competition. How can your organization use your ideals and ethics as a launch pad for greater employee motivation, engagement, productivity, and profitability?

Want to Increase Employee Motivation? Treat them like Family!

Written by Paul Marchildon, on February 10, 2015.

Employee Motivation

Ask not what your employees can do for you…. That happy employees make engaged, productive employees is not news. It’s quantifiable: they’re just better for the bottom line. But let’s focus on what matters. To them. Happy employees make happy families. Making work/life integration a priority in your organization is good for them. (On a cynical note, whatever’s good for them tends to be good for you because happy employees…). Family Day offers a perfect opportunity to show them that you value the “life” part of work/life integration.

I Can See Right Through You: Why Transparency is a Must in Business

Written by Paul Marchildon, on January 27, 2015.


Ok, before we start, let’s make this clear: transparency, good. Oversharing, bad. Transparency may make for happier, more productive employees, but no one needs to know that the tacos from dinner are coming back with a vengeance or that you finally know what that rash was all about. Save it for Facebook, people. This is work! (Fun work, but still…boundaries!) All in all, though, companies need to make a concerted effort to communicate more openly and honestly with employees and other stakeholders. Transparency breeds trust, and trust breeds results.

Resolution 2015: Shape up Your Mental Muscle

Written by Paul Marchildon, on December 30, 2014.

Resolution Ah yes, New Year’s Eve. Champagne and resolutions–usually focused on physical “personal bests”. But diet and exercise are child’s play in comparison to getting mentally sharp and focused for the year ahead. It takes real work, dedication – and Ace bandages. What’s your mental fitness plan? And why should you bother with one at all?

To Party or Not to Party: Should You Opt for a Christmas Get-Together or a Holiday Bonus?

Written by Paul Marchildon, on November 25, 2014.

Holiday Bonus Asking a Leisureologist whether you should have a Christmas party or a bonus is like asking someone, would you rather have birthday cake or presents? The answer is “Yes.” Both can offer incredible opportunities to engage employees and celebrate the spirit of the holiday season. But if circumstances require you to choose between a party and a holiday bonus, is one option more appropriate for your business and your employees than the other?

Unwrapping the Gift of Engagement: How to Motivate Employees through the Holidays

Written by Paul Marchildon, on November 11, 2014.

Employee Motivation Through the Holidays ‘Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the office, not an employee was motivated, not even the boss. The meetings were attended without interest or care, in the hopes that 5 o’clock soon would be here.

Need to rewrite this classic tale in your business? Along with the temperature, employee engagement can take a dip in November and December. To heat things back up (in a completely office-appropriate manner), try holidays the Leisureology Way.

Goodbye Nine to Five. Hello Flextime! Being Productive With Work Life Integration

Written by Paul Marchildon, on September 23, 2014.

work life integration

The 9-5 is going the way of the Commodore 64. In a few years, the young folk will wonder how we ever dealt with these big, clunky, inefficient workdays when new, shiny, streamlined ones work so much better. With freelancing, telecommuting, and flextime becoming more common fixtures in today’s work world, adherence to this rigid schedule makes less and less sense. Finally! How can you take advantage of these loosening restrictions and stay productive? Don’t worry. There’s an app, or a thousand, for that.

Merging Companies? Set Your Employees Up for Success

Written by Paul Marchildon, on September 15, 2014.

Breaking up is hard to do. Sometimes getting together isn’t any great shakes either. Dealing with any change in the workplace is difficult: I’ve had employees who were absolutely distraught when we switched to French Roast in the break room. But mergers present incredible challenges: clashing cultures, shifts in titles or responsibilities, loss of security, and, potentially, jobs. How can you help your employees make transitions more effectively – and, hopefully, with less stress and anxiety?

Take Your Child to Work Day – How to Make It a Productive One

Written by Paul Marchildon, on September 9, 2014.

Take Your Child to Work Day

How does Take Your Child to Work Day shake down at your office? Ten minutes of watching you work, followed by the realization that your job is incredibly boring, then followed by 7.5 hours of playing Minecraft? (Him, not you. Well, maybe you, too.) Why not take the opportunity to make this not only a productive day, but one that engages and motivates you, the organization, and the kids? Craft yourself a cubicle, and let’s get to work.

Back to School is In the Air – How to Motivate Employees in the New Quarter

Written by Paul Marchildon, on September 2, 2014.

motivate employees

There’s a subtle shift: days a little shorter, nights a little cooler, thoughts a little sharper. While few are happy to see summer—and its laid back atmosphere—go, autumn carries in a sense of renewal. Nothing like fresh pencils and a new pair of cords to get us back into our routines. We tend to apply ourselves with more rigour than we did in the summer. Employers should seize this “back to school” opportunity. Fall is fleeting, but you can embrace and leverage it for increased employee engagement.

Fly Away With Incentive Travel: Motivating Employees One Trip at a Time

Written by Paul Marchildon, on August 19, 2014.

incentive travel “People do not take trips – trips take people.” John Steinbeck

Trips take us away from our normal environments, from our everyday routines. They take us away from stress and the minutia of cramped schedules and to relaxation, recreation, and rejuvenation. Incentive travel is not only a killer way to reward and motivate employees, it’s a great way to make sure they’re fresh, energized, and ready to give work their all when they return. Little bonus for the company there, courtesy of leisureology. But how do you make sure your incentive travel programs hit the mark?

Selling Your Personal Brand: How to Stand Out From the Pack

Written by Paul Marchildon, on August 12, 2014.

“Today, it’s not simply who you know or even what you know. It’s what you know and who knows you know it.”

More prescient words were never spoken, given today’s fiercely competitive employment landscape. Who said it: Socrates, Einstein, Peter Drucker? Good guesses. It was actually Paul Marchildon, circa 1984. In the 1950s and 1960s, nepotism and cronyism ensured you could snag a job with your brother-in-law or ride the coattails of whomever you sucked up to enough. Today, that behaviour is largely limited to Mad Men episodes, while you’re stuck with your merit, personality, and networking skills. How can you use them to rise above the competition?

One Week, Two Employees: Here’s How to Settle Vacation Time Squabbles the Leisureology Way

Written by Paul Marchildon, on July 14, 2014.

JerkFest. A few August days packed full of flavor, hot & spicy chicken-eating contests, demos, frog legs, and alligator. Not to be missed: the “So You Think You Can Jerk” competition. It’s going to be epic; only problem is everyone’s is going to vie for vacation at the same time so they don’t miss a bite (and so they have several days after to recover). Completely understandable. As a leader, how do you gently let them know that you will be taking off, and they’re stuck in the office? Or, if you’re willing to take one for the team, how do you resolve situations in which two or more employees want the same vacation time?

It’s the Performer, Not the Perk: Don’t Blame Incentive Programs for Sub-Par Work

Written by Paul Marchildon, on July 10, 2014.

But if I offer free gym memberships or flex time, people are going to take advantage of them! It’s absolutely true. With any incentive program, there is the possibility that employees will take advantage. If you offer free lunch, some of them will actually eat it; if you implement a “Cut Outta Here Early on Friday” summer policy, some of them will actually excuse themselves after that free lunch. To which I say, “Great! Give them promotions. I, and Leisureologists the world over, salute them!” You want employees to take advantage of incentives. If you’re having an issue with subpar performance, look at the performer, not the perk.

The Millennials Have Arrived! Why You Can’t Hold Off On Leisure Culture Any Longer

Written by Paul Marchildon, on June 10, 2014.

Meet the dullest people in the world – and it’s not your management team discussing financials. No, the dullest folks, according to anthropologists, are the Bainings of Papua New Guinea. They have no myths or festivals; they discourage exploration and punish play. They work. When they talk, they talk about work. When they reminisce, they reminisce about work. When they dream…. A culture built entirely on an “all work, no play” philosophy. Does this sound less like anthropology and more like your 9-5 (or 8-4, 6-3)? 

Parting Ways with a Client: The Ins and Outs

Written by Paul Marchildon, on June 2, 2014.

It’s not you; it’s me. Well, mostly it’s you. Ending a relationship with a client who is no longer a good fit for your business is as difficult as severing ties with anyone else in your life – with the added concern of loss of revenue, impact to your reputation, and possible damage to your credibility. So, texting, “See ya – or better yet, not,” to your future ex-client isn’t going to cut it. How do you part ways amicably, and even create a mutually beneficial situation?

Employee Incentives: Embracing a Culture of Leisureology

Written by Paul Marchildon, on May 13, 2014.

When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar. When is work not work? When it’s leisure. The concept of leisureology extends beyond the simple – though powerful – benefits of health and fitness. It’s a state of mind, rather than an activity. So, when is a gym not a gym or flextime not flextime? When they’re tools for employee motivation; when they nurture a culture of leisureology that doesn’t just blur the line between work and leisure, but erases it.