Play Together to Stay Together: How to Improve Retention with Recreation (Part 1)

Asen Marketing Asen Marketing

Business Tips

Effective employee retention is one of the most important aspects of successful leadership. High-retention workplaces have two common priorities: incentivizing the dedication and motivation of employees, and curtailing the damage done when employees leave.

Retaining top talent and decreasing your turnover rate can save you valuable time and money on everything from recruiting and onboarding to training and ongoing productivity. Because when an employee exits, so does the investment you’ve made in them.

In part one of this two-part article, we’ll share 4 benefits of workplace recreation that you can start using right away! Keep an eye out for more helpful retention tips coming to the blog soon.

Understanding the Value of Team Recreation

The reality is people often compartmentalize work so narrowly that they don’t allow for any real connection with coworkers or management. The average employee is used to getting in and out of work as quickly as possible (often with little interaction), meaning it’s on you (the employer) to encourage team recreation. Don’t worry… we’re here to help! 

Here are the first 4 approaches you can take to effectively implement team recreation and improve retention as a result… Stick around for more coming to the blog soon!

1. Socialize

This is easily the most important reason for offering team recreation. People need to connect with others, which is why isolation at work is a major cause of low productivity and employee exits. Giving your employees the opportunity to get to know each other outside of a work setting fosters friendship and creates shared memories.

RESULT: Eliminate awkwardness at the water cooler or in the lunchroom by helping your employees create talking points through shared experiences and common ground. Employees who feel socially included don’t feel as much of a need to look elsewhere for connectedness.

Our favorite picks for socializing events: 

  • Happy hour (bonus if you bring employee-centered questions or games!)
  • Tubing or white water rafting
  • Ghost tours
  • Cooking classes
  • Food or drink tastings (coffee, wine, chocolate, etc.)

2. Collaborate & Communicate

Ideally, employees work together well. But employees may be so accustomed to working solo that teamwork feels like the dreaded group project they had to do in school. Instead of throwing new employees into the group and hoping they start to meld, throw them into leisure gatherings that allow them to learn each other’s workflow and how to effectively collaborate. A machine doesn’t run smoothly without oil!

RESULT: With practiced teamwork, coworkers will start to learn that they can depend on each other, which will lead to more efficient delegation, less backtracking up the ladder, and better coordination on future projects. This will also give you an opportunity to observe your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, identify leaders, and make changes that benefit your company long-term.

Our favorite picks for collaboration and communication-focused events:

  • Island survival games
  • Murder mystery dinners
  • Memory/board games

3. Humanize Your Workforce

As a leader, you set the tone for how you want people in your office to perceive one another. Work isn’t our only identity. But it can be hard to picture coworkers outside of work and easy to forget that they are more than the position we see them in every day. Your team will be much more likely to participate in corporate events if you set a holistic tone for how you want people in the office to treat each other.

RESULT: Learning about our teammates helps us see them for who they really are, versus just as “Bob from Accounting.” The more they understand each other, the easier it will be for them to trust and respect each other. This can also reinforce a greater sense of shared accountability in the office, resulting in higher productivity and more room for creativity, discussion, and growth.

Our favorite picks for humanizing events:

  • Word association/board games
  • “Show and tell” days
  • Yoga or meditation classes

4. Foster Creativity

Last but not least (for part one of this article, that is), you can implement team recreation by choosing activities that require a bit of innovative-thinking. These can be very telling of what skills and ideas your employees have that you can tap into. 

Creative assignments will bring out hidden talents and dispel presumptions about fellow team members. For example, maybe your web developer is an improv master and can assist in training your public speakers. Maybe the girl from billing creates art in her free time and can be taught to assist the design team when they’re feeling overwhelmed with work.

RESULT: A little bit of creative pressure in a group setting can be a great stimulus for encouraging new skill formation and can give you direction on who and what to encourage. New skills in your workplace will allow you to move your current employees around and up in the office, positively affecting retention.

Our favorite picks for creative events:

  • Beginner’s painting class
  • Sculpting or pottery class
  • A friendly creative writing competition
  • Themed dress-up days (go ahead and pull out those corduroy bell-bottoms you’ve been holding onto!)
  • Invent a new game using the pieces of a familiar one

The success of your business is important to us… When you succeed, we know we’ve done our job as your dedicated marketing partner. While a partnership with us offers so much more than team recreation and retention tips, we also understand that it can impact nearly every other aspect of your business, from quality of work to client relations.

Want to learn more about the many other ways we can help you and your team thrive? Let’s chat! And in the meantime, give these fun tips a try and stay tuned for part two of this article, where we’re providing 4 more game-changing ideas for improving retention within your team.

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