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Creative Ways to Retain Employees

employee retention strategies

Sometimes certain employee retention strategies can feel a bit played out. Perhaps you’ve been recognizing your employees for great work, you’ve been giving them extra vacation time, you’ve been integrating 360° feedback, and they’re still leaving in droves. Where do we turn next?

We have to get more creative.

As effective as employee retention strategies like rewards & recognition can be, workers often see them as expectations rather than perks, which renders them less effective at beating turnover. Creative employee retention methods prove that you’re willing to think outside the box for your team, which communicates the appreciation you have for them and the effort you’re willing to put in to get them to stay.

Of course, the creative methods themselves also make them want to stick around! Let’s take a look at some of them:

Get creative juices flowing with hackathons

One of the leading causes of burnout in the workplace is getting stuck in a dry routine; doing the same thing every day naturally makes people restless. It burns folks out even more when the tasks are stressful, or worse, ineffective. That’s why many companies are getting into the hackathon trend.

Originating as a method for computer coders to beat programming difficulties, a hackathon is really any gathering of teammates to solve a problem or finish a project in a day’s time. Hackathons set themselves apart because of how different they are from a high priority meeting or an afternoon of grinding on your computer – they bring everyone together to collaborate in an unorthodox environment to complete a task in a unique way.

While this naturally boosts and targets productivity, it also has employee retention “side effects”. Hackathons encourage creativity and new ideas, which enables your team members’ voices to be heard louder than ever. It also breaks up the monotony of daily work, especially for those who work remotely and don’t get the chance to join in on high-impact planning.

Changing up your team’s typical workflow while giving them a creative voice is exactly what they need to break through burnout! Give them that opportunity with your next big project.

Remote and on-site games

As fun as hackathons can be, your team would probably have even more fun with them if they… you know… didn’t involve work at all. So get some games out!

Playing games with your team is a classic way to boost employee retention that fell to the wayside a bit during the pandemic. Between charades, board games, and office olympics, there are plenty of fantastic ways to use games to beat burnout and break the ice between newer hires.

You’ve probably got plenty of ideas for activities you could try at the workplace, which is why we’re not here to suggest ways to have fun. What we can tell you is that there are a couple things to avoid when planning for a fun “game day”.

Number one – Don’t plan them outside of work hours, even in the guise of a game night. The fact of the matter is that most employees want nothing to do with work outside of the hours of 9-5, even if the after-hours task is just a fun activity. They have lives, they have plans, and they’ll see it as a responsibility. While you may have to sacrifice a splash of productivity, your team will be very appreciative if you take a Wednesday afternoon and turn it into a gameday.

Number two – involve your remote workers. Employee retention is often lowest among remote and hybrid workers who don’t feel connected to the company culture. One of the quickest ways to bring them right into the culture is by playing games with them, or even designing games specifically for them to enjoy. If you need some ideas for remote games, we’ve written a lot about ‘em here – try some out!

Writing a great mission statement

In some instances, a significant obstacle to employee retention is the perception a company’s employees have of it. Some organizations (not naming names) have such sour reputations among their staff that they’ll enter their position with an already-formed bad attitude about the future. It’s awful for employee retention

This isn’t limited to the biggest businesses, either – word can spread about corporate management at small-to-medium companies effectively enough to hurt a company’s reputation very quickly. The causes of a bad organizational perception can be myriad, but the first step to solving it and beating turnover is building a great mission statement.

A mission statement tells people three things: why the business exists, what makes it different, and what its people stand for. When it resonates strongly with those who read it, it not only puts your company under a good light, but acts as a positive influence for your employees and fosters their faith in their position with the business. For example, retail chain Goodwill’s mission statement is:

“Goodwill Industries International is committed to advancing employment, education and skill-building opportunities for individuals across the globe.”

Not only does it share a lot about what the company aims to achieve, but it sets an example for its employees and illustrates the need to look towards an objective other than profit. A good mission statement can change the tone of an entire organization, and can boost employee retention while doing it.

Promotions… and lateral movement?

A huge priority for most workers is their careers and upwards movement as they move forwards. People either want to be promoted in their own company or quit to attain a higher position elsewhere. It’s no surprise, then, that a LinkedIn study found that an average person who’s promoted has a 70% chance of lasting three years with that company, compared to a 45% chance for a worker who wasn’t.

What was surprising about the study, however, is that employees who moved laterally had a 62% chance of remaining with the company, much higher than those who just kept one position. You can’t promote everyone at a company, of course, but you can actually improve employee retention by letting workers shift to other positions.

From the employee’s perspective, this does a lot; it breaks up the stagnation of one job, it gives them more work experience for their resume & general knowledge, and it helps them understand the company cares about their progress, even if that progress isn’t yet upwards. From the organization’s perspective, it helps employees stick around and it can often lead to the discovery of more effective skillsets for certain positions. Employees have natural talent – figure out where they fit best.

Stay interviews

You may have a good idea of what sort of issues are causing low employee retention, or you may not have any idea at all. Many companies turn to exit interviews to determine the roots of turnover by asking folks why they’re leaving as they’re walking out the door. It’s effective, but worker quits are so costly that many businesses can’t afford to wait for more team members to leave to find a solution. That’s why you should use stay interviews instead.

Stay interviews are a proven tactic that organizations use to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of their workplace culture right from the source: their employees. They are informal conversations between a manager and worker designed to gather valuable feedback about their role and the parts of your company that they enjoy. Additionally, these interviews can give some insight on what might make a great employee move on from their role, and are great exercises to establish trust between managers and their teams.

They improve employee retention by identifying pain points and recurring problems before they become major issues. When incorporating stay interviews into other employee engagement efforts like pulse surveys, recognition programs, and training, your team will quickly become a destination that attracts new talent and beats turnover. It should be a part of everyone’s employee retention policy.

While you should conduct stay interviews at least once a year, you should make sure to never combine them with performance review season, as you want workers’ answers to be as candid as possible.

We’ve got much more about stay interviews here – read all about them!

If you don’t feel like getting too creative and you just want to know the basics of employee retention strategies, go here!To beat turnover with HelloTeam, the only true employee retention platform, try a free demo here!

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