Creative Employee Retention Strategies

Retention strategies are limited only by what you’re willing to do within the law. The following 30 unusual, creative, and even silly ideas will help you reduce turnover and increase worker loyalty.

Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, took employee retention to new heights when he announced in April that he was raising the salary of every one of his staffers to a minimum of $70,000 over the next three years, regardless of job title — and dropping his own $1 million paychecks to $70,000. Such astonishing generosity essentially guarantees employee loyalty and retention.


Thirty-six percent said creating a corporate culture attractive to top talent is of key importance. No wonder: A 2013 CareerBuilder survey .noted that one in four workers said they planned to change jobs in the current or following year.

Retaining good employees pays off in time, money, and productivity, so turnover and training new employees are costly. Many companies have implemented flexible hours, subsidized mass transportation passes, provided 401(k) retirement saving plans, and offered casual dress policies to improve employee satisfaction. Additionally, you can also boost engagement and commitment by finding uncommon ways to motivate your workforce. The following are 30 suggestions:

  • To motivate and engage your workers (especially millennials), consider gamifying your workplace – use game design to make projects and tasks more enjoyable. You can hold weekly contests to see who can clean up the most data files.
  • Managers should handwrite thank-you notes to staff based on their performance or thoughtful actions.
  • Allow workers to spend paid time volunteering.
  • Offer dry-cleaning services at a discount, including delivery and pickup to the workplace.
  • Set up an annual clothing swap among employees – a fashion bazaar!
  • Organize workplace softball, volleyball, trivia contests, bowling, etc., and hold tournaments.
  • A massage therapist can offer 20-minute chair massages for free or at low cost once a week.
  • Provide yoga classes, a Weight Watchers group, and/or educational lunches with speakers during the lunch hour.
  • Establish an interest-free computer loan program to buy computers for employees and to allow them to pay for them over time.
  • Consider discounts from local merchants, such as health clubs, parking lots, or office supply stores.
  • Treat staff and their families to movie nights, sporting events, or live performances.
  • Employees should have the option of taking a floating holiday on their birthday.
  • Make Halloween a costume contest and host a holiday lunch for workers.
  • Allow workers to use Facebook on company time (for short periods of time) to demonstrate management’s trust.
  • Create a lunchtime book club.
  • Employees can lend books they have read and want to share at a worksite lending library.
  • Every year, hold a staff craft fair to let people show off their hobbies.
  • Establish a “quiet room” with comfortable furniture and low lighting, where people can relax, think, and deal with stress in private.
  • Consider walking 15 minutes every 15 minutes during your workday.
  • Workstations can be tailored to employees’ comfort, e.g., standing desks, large balls instead of chairs, or under-desk exercise pedals.
  • Set up a suggestion box and discuss submissions at regular staff meetings.
  • Keep your promises – show your employees you can be trusted.
  • Organize an annual talent show for your staff.
  • Establish a fitness room with weights and exercise equipment.
  • Consider extending unpaid parental leave by at least six months.
  • Provide your employees with concierge services. Provide services such as buying, wrapping, and delivering gifts, making restaurant and entertainment reservations, or delivering groceries.
  • Employees should be able to design some staff retention policies.
  • Participate in a community service day with the entire company.
  • Offset employee costs for child care, senior care, and even pet care.

Your employee retention strategies will be determined by your company size, corporate culture, and budget. But creativity should never be a limiting factor.

Sources: Paychex

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