Play Together to Stay Together: How to Improve Retention with Recreation (Part 2)

Asen Marketing Asen Marketing

Business Tips

In the first part of this two-part article, we talked about the importance of socialization, collaborative communication, creativity and the humanization of your staff. 

Now, let’s pick up where we left off and take a look at four MORE key elements that make recreation a successful tool for workplace retention. Here’s a few important things to consider when planning your company events…

1. Boost Company Culture

Team bonding events show what kind of company culture you strive to set for your team, so pick ones that align with your teams’ values and help cultivate positive relationships within your organization.

In regards to retention, “company culture” determines what kind of employees want you these days. The team recreation activities you host will influence how your current employees view the company and how potential employees decide if your office is the right fit for them.

RESULT: Hosting activities and events that cover a wide array of interests can ensure that everyone under you feels included and makes your company one that values adaptation, challenges, and a healthy work-life balance.

Our favorite picks for culture-boosting events: 

  • Hands-on community service
  • Art exhibits or museums
  • Farmer’s markets
  • Craft fairs

2. Inspire Productivity

Burnt out workers just don’t work well. Implementing team recreation events that relieve stress and re-energize your group will increase motivation and help break up the monotony of the work week.

In other words, workplace recreation shouldn’t be an annual activity. Start considering a monthly or even quarterly schedule for these activities. The time is an investment in your staff and your business (and a much more affordable one than hiring due to turnover).

RESULT: Relaxed, happy employees will feel a higher sense of commitment to your company and tend to be more efficient in their work. Less burnout + more work-life balance = better performance overall!

Our favorite picks for burnout-busting events:

  • Dinner cruise
  • Comedy club
  • Pontoon boat rental
  • Indoor skydiving
  • Spa day
  • Weekly “free hour” after lunch as a group

3. Hone Conflict Resolution & Problem-Solving Skills

Ideally, you’d want all of your employees to navigate disagreements a) without having to come to you and b) in a healthy way that leads to improved communication and forward movement (not cold-shouldering and gossip in the break room).

Conflict resolution skills are often adopted from family, friends, and schoolmates. While we might receive some form of guidance or correction, it’s rare that people are taught actual strategies for solving problems effectively at work. Every day is a new opportunity to improve on this within your company. You can even consider asking employees to take a short conflict-style test, so you have a better idea of which activities to include at team recreation events. 

RESULT: Providing room and resources for your employees to learn about their own and each other’s skills is a huge step toward healthy, successful conflict resolution. Problem-solving skills often fall under similar categories and can result in similar benefits. Helping employees feel empowered to mitigate unexpected issues (and supporting them through it when necessary) will keep them around.

Our favorite picks for conflict resolution skill-building events:

  • Escape rooms
  • Light-hearted, proctored debates (example: for/against pineapple on pizza)
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Problem-solving workshops

4. Invest in Your Team’s Bottom Line

Think beyond events to encourage employee retention. It’s simple: if you want your employees to personally care about your company, you have to show you care about your employees personally! Invest in their wellbeing and give them reason to trust that you don’t just see them for what they can do for you.

RESULT: If your employees trust that you have their best interest in mind as an employee and a person, you’ll get the best out of them. This applies to productivity, collaboration, quality of work, team cohesion… you name it.

Our favorite picks for investing in your employees:

  • Match funds for gym memberships
  • Bring in a fitness instructor once a week for a fun group activity
  • Offer them the opportunity to provide feedback
  • Offer a benefits package that includes mental or spiritual health
  • Give an extra day off here and there
  • Celebrate employee appreciation week!

Your role in it all…

Whatever team recreation event you go with, remember to be honest about why you’re organizing it. Your employees need to trust your motivations, so make it clear that their wellbeing, health, happiness, comfort within the office, bond with coworkers, and work/life balance is important to you. Even the best leaders can seem intimidating to some employees, creating hesitancy to reach out and discuss things like workplace concerns, career changes, or even new ideas for growth. It’s important your team knows you’re on their side.

As you start to plan your team recreation schedule, consider these top 3 tips:

  • Employees will not choose to pay to participate. If you want them involved, host it.
  • Employees will rarely choose to participate in their free time. When possible, company events should happen on company time. If they’re forced to use their already-limited free time, they may end up resenting it and the benefits could be lost.
  • Avoid declined invitations to participate by covering basic needs that could keep employees from joining. For example, offer childcare, provide access to adequate facilities or resources… whatever it takes to add convenience into the equation.

Still looking for ways to improve retention through recreation with your team? Kick off team building with a brainstorming session about… (you guessed it) team building! Use their ideas and contributions as a starting point to start thriving together! 

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