Hitting the Slopes Vertical Advantage Style

Incentives in recruitment are nothing new, in fact they are as common as hearing “I’m about to step into a meeting” during a BD call. It’s also common that big incentive like trips to LA/Bali/New York/Barcelona are usually just for the top billers.

It’s different at Vertical Advantage as our big incentives are always for the whole business. This year’s incentive was a long weekend ski trip to Morzine in the French Alps. Hitting target wasn’t an easy task but we all pulled through and reached it in the last few days of December. They say Christmas miracles do happen, but this one was down to the hard work of everyone!

The day of the trip
The day arrived and one by one we rocked into the office with big smiles. When we arrived at the airport we met Sue, Jo, Julia and Rich and were on our way!

After landing in Geneva, we split into two taxis. Our taxi driver was a delightful chap from Middlesborough #UTB and he was playing absolute bangers – safe to say the mood was as good as signing an exclusive PSL with an account worth 150k a year. We arrived at the hotel late that evening and settled into bed with a big day of skiing ahead of us.

Leaving day highlights:

* Airline staff telling us off repeatedly en route – we were enjoying ourselves!
* Jules and Dale getting lost at Geneva airport

Day 1
We had a 7.30am meet in the dining room for breakfast before grabbing our ski passes and equipment. Mood was brilliant, not a sore head in sight! The group was split in 2 – one group consisted of five elite skiers and the other consisted of Bambies on ice.

Now it’s safe to mention that there were 10 of us who had never worn ski boots before, so walking was a sight which I can only leave to your imagination… We were led up the mountains on the chairlift, Jack and I in a lift full of fearless 7-year olds, whilst we looked like we were in a helicopter ready to land on Guadalcanal, during World War Two.

The elite group had gone off on the black, red and blue slopes, performing some Shaun White-esque stunts, comparable to bringing on four new clients in a day. The second group were gearing up for our lesson with ski instructor Tom, who was worth every penny (shock his name was Tom – good at what he does). By the end of the lesson we were all snowploughing our way down the nursery slope with ease.

After a quick lunch, we set off conquering the green slopes and confidence was brimming. Now comes a story that shows how ambitious we are – JC, AA, JM, TV and I had met up with DH & DJ (splinter group of the elite skiers). From here on, I can only say we were sold a dream by the best salesperson in the business, whom I will not name. We were convinced down a blue slope, 4500 metres, bearing in mind we have three hours of ski experience in our lives – in recruitment terms, it was like trying to make a placement with a business who have a strict PSL, on the same day.

Instantly, AA shot off on the wrong path and into the abyss. JC, JM and I, a mixture of confidence and naivety, followed DJ down. We all fell multiple times, but under the encouragement of our leader/enemy we got up each time with a smile on our face. Until we got to a slope that was simply too steep to fall down – not to worry, off our skis came and the three of us tobogganed down on our bottoms (it was honestly the most fun I’ve had in a while). We made it and re-joined the rest of the team at après ski for a well-deserved drink or three.

Dinner at the hotel and was filled with wine, beer and fish & chips. There were still four portions of fish & chips leftover after dinner, and DJ had bet I couldn’t finish it – we don’t do KPIs at Vertical Advantage but regardless, targets don’t phase us. Bosh, easy as you like, just a bit of ketchup on my top and I was done.

That evening some of us headed into Morzine to a bar and then onto a club – we know how to let our hair down, work hard, play hard and all that.

Day 1 highlights:

* All of us for mastering the green slopes
* Andy for flying through the trees like a bat
* Rich getting serious air on his snowboard
* Jo for soldiering on despite having a cut on her hand
* Taz for getting called out at dinner for being too loud
* The bar for destroying our credit cards
* Sue for her words of wisdom and excellent timings

Day 2
Day 2 started out as grey as a client putting a role “on hold”. A few of us had not made it downstairs for the early breakfast call or skiing! According to some of the elite group, who had of course gone out to the slopes, the visibility was poor.

After lunch, the group were split. Some had decided to take in the culture of Morzine, beautiful chalets with roofs covered in snow. Others decided to taste the local ale (for market research, obviously). And some (me included) decided we’d do both and see how the French enjoy sports on a Saturday – Manchester United vs Liverpool, Ireland vs Scotland and France vs England in the 6 nations.

In the evening, we had dinner at a lovely restaurant in town with unbelievable food. Oysters so fresh you could taste the pollution from the sea, raclette as smooth and silky as a Lindt chocolate advert and pastry as flaky as a candidate who verbally accepts an offer and is never heard from again.

As we had a fairly early flight to catch, we decided to not stay out too late as we may get water poisoning again *cough*. However, the night was still young so a few of us decided to have a nightcap in the hotel lounge whilst playing a game of Articulate. It was all fun and games until JC and I beat DJ and JK, which was completely fair. It ended with cards scattered around the room – just imagine Dennis the Menace attempting to perform a card trick.

Day 2 highlights:

* Dale for not even making it down to breakfast
* Everyone who made it skiing
* Jack and I wearing turtle necks and being voted best dressed
* Andy doing who knows how many shots in a row
* The dog that followed me, JC, AP & Dale home (we genuinely don’t know where it is now)

Round up
To put it simply, the trip was fantastic. This was Vertical Advantage enjoying something we had all worked hard for, as one. I would compare it to one of my past companies, but to be completely honest, nothing has been close. We had somehow managed to make a 2-day holiday feel like a week-long trip – we are recruiters after all, getting lots of quality in, in a short period of time (it’s how we hit our incentive (last time I mention that – promise!).

I’d like to say a massive thank you to DJ on behalf of everyone for the trip and for making Vertical Advantage a great place to work.

Plus, big thanks to Belinda for organising the trip, Taz for sorting out the ski lessons (I’d like a refund for the second day!) and thanks to all the candidates, clients, friends and family of Vertical Advantage that made this all possible – I don’t do Oscar acceptance speeches, but if I did, they’d probably be the greatest speeches in the world.

Tom Disapong
Co-signed by Jack Clark
Aka the turtle neck twins