We all know that companies worldwide are fighting hard to hire and retain top talent.
In addition to keeping up with the latest trends in technology, businesses today must also plan and implement creative HR ideas or they risk being left behind.
From hiring new employees efficiently, onboarding them enthusiastically, training them strategically and engaging all employees thoughtfully, there are many opportunities to stand out with creative HR practices.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most unique and innovative HR practices that top companies around the world have implemented.
1. Want to Keep Your Best Employees? Offer Them Cash to Quit
When it comes to hiring and firing, there is a sort of unwritten rule that most companies must hire quickly and fire slowly.
But the shoe and accessories e-tailer Zappos swears by the opposite – they claim that the most harm actually comes from hiring mistakes. Their own past hiring mistakes have cost them well over $100 million dollars.
So they came up with a unique solution. During the initial training of a new employee, Zappos offers to pay them for any time spent training plus one month’s salary – and all they have to do is to quit. Only a small percentage of the newbies take the offer, but the committed employees stay and continue to provide the exceptional customer service that the company is famous for.
This approach isn’t limited to just Zappos. Amazon also started their own Pay to Quit program. Amazon’s employees get this offer once a year, the first an offer for $2000 with annual increases of $1000 each year after that, with a maximum of $5000.
2. Develop Mentorship Programs to Engage Employees
Approximately 30% workers in America are now millennials, according to Howe and Strauss.
By 2020 this generation will become 50% of the global workforce, so that means that the war for the best and brightest is happening now.
The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016 showed that millennials who plan to stay 5+ years at a company are twice as likely to have a mentor. This study only confirms what we already know in our hearts: When a manager is involved in their team member’s training and development, they’re much more likely to stay longer.
But how do you train someone on top of doing your own work? One way you can do this is by training in snippets and showing (not only telling) your employee what good work looks like.
3. Welcome New Hires With High-Fives
A study in the Academy of Management Journal showed that when people starting a new job have a higher level of support, they’re more positive and more productive.
One way to show your support is by organizing a high-five lane for the new employee on their first day at work so that everyone greets and welcomes the newbie by creating a euphoric atmosphere.
It can also be done at the end of the new employee’s orientation – similar to how the company WP Engine ends their orientation, as shown in this video.
If we go by the results of a UC Berkeley psychology professor who examined NBA games for 8 months and concluded that high fives actually played a part in helping teams win, then this practice seems like a great return on the (almost non-existing) investment.
4. Increase Retention With Company-Sponsored Personal Development
Salary, bonuses, free transportation, and insurance benefits are just a few of the items in a classic remuneration package – but things are changing in this regard, too, as modern companies are developing new, creative ways of attracting and keeping top talent. Part of this change focuses on promoting health and well-being by offering great work-life balance and stress-reducing activities such as a free company gym sessions.
One example of this is company-sponsored fitness classes. Alexa Von Tobel, Founder and CEO of LearnVest, offers a gym class to her employees at the start of the work day.
Other perks include endless vacation time and flexible time off – employers are finally realizing that employees do not choose to be sick, injured, or stuck in traffic. Life happens.
5. Create New Feedback & Evaluation Standards to Develop Your Employees
Forget 360-degree feedback systems. Hoping to improve performance simply by supplying anonymous feedback on a leader’s shortcomings without context or details is unrealistic.
The same could also be said for managers providing feedback for their team members — the rigid evaluation sheet is a thing of the past.
Instead, try this: T.H.I.N.K and be S.M.A.R.T. Stay focused and compassionate during the feedback discussion (with an emphasis on discussion) by asking yourself the following questions: “Is it True?”, “Helpful?”, “Inspiring?”, “Necessary?” and “Is what I’m about to say Kind?”.
When providing feedback, make sure it’s: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Timely.
Keeping these two acronyms in mind during your next evaluation discussion with your teammate will help you separate constructive feedback from opinions that are better kept to yourself.
6. Reimagine the Standard Workspace to Keep Things Interesting
It can be easy to forget that millennials were in school only a few short years ago, where they spent quite a bit of time trying to be engaged (even though they weren’t always), so they can be pretty skilled at pretending to be engaged.
Placing them at a standard desk for an entire workday, giving them classroom-style training and asking them to participate in long, drawn-out meetings in a standard meeting room can result in lost interest – and the worst part is that you may not know it until they hand in their resignation letter.
A few alternate ideas include unassigned workstations, getting rid of private offices, and increased connectivity – as the real estate giant CBRE recently discovered after relocating to a more creative working space.
In their internal survey, 83% of employees reported feeling more productive from working collaboratively in a smaller space.
7. Help Your Employees Give Back by Matching Charitable Contributions
Speaking of millennials, 75% of them believe that businesses are too focused on their own agendas and not focused enough on improving society. Additionally, Cone Research found that 79% of people favor working in a company that is socially responsible; while 79% of people believe it’s important that their employer matches their charitable giving.
Since most employees wish to work for companies that are on a mission to change the world, ideas like matching employees’ charity donations and encouraging employees to spend a few paid days every year volunteering in their community are welcomed.
An easy activity that the HR department can organize is workplace giving – meaning the employer makes it possible for the employees to make monetary donations directly from their salary. This, the America’s Charities 2015 Snapshot claims, is a common component of employee engagement.
It’s a win-win for everyone.
Some of these companies are so original in their HR strategies and so transparent in their thinking that it’s easy to make our heads spin — but proper dedication and execution can make all the difference in making sure you fill your organization with the right people.
A couple of questions for you:
Does your company have some innovative HR practices? What kind of impact have they had on the company? Share your experiences in the comments below!