Using Events as an Employee Retention Tool

A memorable, well-executed event can benefit a company in countless ways, with boons ranging from increasing brand awareness, to tapping into new client networks, to relaying important information to staff. 

But there’s another simple yet often overlooked reason many successful companies host fun, consistent events.

Savvy businesses use events, retreats, happy hours and a host of other types of gatherings as tools for employee retention. It’s their way of creating motivational incentives and showing gratitude for the teams that help them thrive. 

Gallup found in a recent poll that 48% of U.S. employees said they were on the lookout for a new job. Their reasons varied from things like relocation to advancement opportunities. 

But the key trend Gallup discovered was that out of those who did end up quitting, three times as many employees did so due to issues around company culture and work-life balance, compared with the number who left primarily for a bigger paycheck.

Most of us can agree that when we feel valued and celebrated by our employers, we’re more motivated to show up and lean into our work with gusto. Plus, special events foster bonds between employees that make work feel more like home – and after all, there’s no place like home.

Here are six types of events that serve as amazing tools for employee retention:

All Company Retreats

There’s nothing like getting out of the day-to-day routine to refresh spirits, mindsets and relationships alike. For many corporate teams, an all-day or weekend retreat is not only where brilliant new ideas are born, but also where fresh collaborations take root. A single meeting will rarely accomplish what a full-on retreat can – and your staff will return to work on Monday with new friends, exciting projects and that happy, post-retreat glow.

All Hands Meetings 

Even when a full-day retreat isn’t possible, you can capture that same spirit by bringing your employees together for an all-hands meeting. These are typically longer than your average team, or project-based meeting, and they may include lunch, drinks, big announcements, awards, games, and even special performances. These gatherings give the day a festive feel and give employees something to look forward to. It’s a time to step away from the desk and come together for connection and communication. For an extra bonus, plan your all-hands at the end of the day and follow it with a happy hour to really treat your staff.

Happy Hours

Which brings us to… the tried and true happy hour! Companies that host fun, recurring happy hours have great office culture and some of the happiest employees. And it doesn’t have to be all about the booze – more and more companies are incorporating delicious non-alcoholic and sober curious concoctions into their happy hours and working with event planners who know the best mixologists to hire for the occasion.

Incentive Recognition Trip

Employee incentive trips are another classic way companies motivate team performance and encourage strong coworking relationships. Also referred to as recognition programs, incentive trips reward top-performing employees and can range from an all-expenses-paid vacation to an off-site adventure for the day. Whatever the shape of the reward, a successful incentive program inspires employees to keep showing up and offering their best work, knowing it could earn them an awesome bonus from their employers.

Summer Picnics

A summer picnic or field day is like the mid-year counterpart to an end-of-year party. It’s a special opportunity to bring colleagues together, often with their loved ones in tow, to play games, delight in fizzy beverages and lounge around in the sunshine. Making these summer events open to families is a particularly great way to make employees feel seen, known and appreciated by management. 

End of Year and Holiday Events

Here’s the inside scoop from event professionals with 20+ years experience: The companies with the happiest employees go all out for their end of year parties. It’s a thing. We’re talking massive, gorgeous venues, dazzling performances, incredible catering, the works. Some of these events become the talk of the town, with murmerings and speculation starting months ahead of time about what phenomenal shindig will go down come December. These gatherings make employees feel like they’re really part of something special – because they are.