Using the Senses to Engage Employees


Aromatherapy was first used by the ancient Egyptians, who used essential oils to heal maladies. Scents can also boost confidence, ease stress, activate fond memories, and even arouse us sexually.

Do you want to promote positive family interaction? Serve garlic bread at dinner. In studies, at dinnertime this scent reduced negative remarks by 22.7 percent and increased good-natured remarks by 7.4 percent. The bread
doesn't have to be eaten to realize the benefits. Our guess is serving garlic bread at the next team meeting may have a similar effect.

Curb your food cravings with the scent of banana or peppermint. You don't need to eat a banana, just smell it. Alternatively, you can place two drops of peppermint oil on a piece of cotton and take occasional whiffs.

Want your man to be more interested, bake a pumpkin pie or serve black licorice. While perfume is 3 percent effective at arousing a man's romantic feelings, you'll enjoy 40 percent effectiveness with pumpkin pie or 13 percent for licorice.

Need to concentrate on an intellectual task? It's a good idea to keep some fragrant flowers on the desk and take periodic breaks to "smell the roses."

Since we can actually use aromatherapy to manage our minds and our moods, it should come as no surprise that a forward-thinking training company in Singapore is using visual and auditory, (capitalizing on our sense of hearing) as well as olfactory (capitalizing on our sense of smell) cues to make employee training more effective.

Gareth Poh, owner of The Training Company, believes that unique learning environments help improve engagement levels in his classes. Poh provides an unusual, yet comfortable setting, in which participants are more receptive.

The Company's facility has been decorated to look like a beach, including wallpaper, lounge chairs, and music. Poh also uses aromatherapy, adding scents like lavender and orange and soothing music to activate more senses.  Triggering multiple senses helps participants retain the new knowledge better.

Look for more corporations and training companies all over the world to add visual, auditory, and olfactory stimuli to their training facilities to make the training provided "stick" better.

Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a strategic business futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and professional speaker.


Joyce Gioia is a Strategic Business Futurist concentrating on workforce and workplace trends. Joyce is President and CEO of The Herman Group, a firm serving a wide range corporate, trade association and governmental clients on an international basis.

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