As many of you know, in addition to being an employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer, I am also a CrossFit guy. My youngest son got me in to CrossFit four years ago and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has kept me in shape and it’s fun even if it’s but brutally tough. I have also learned some valuable lessons from CrossFit that apply to employee retention strategies. One lesson that dawned on me very recently is that to keep people, you have to build a sense of belonging and community in your organization.
CrossFit talks about being a community vs. other gyms where people just go to work out. When I show up for class, all the people know me. When I have been traveling with my employee retention speaking and have been missing class they all ask where I have been because they know I travel all over the country as an employee retention speaker. I have been to “regular gyms” and you generally go in, work out and leave. You may say an occasional “hello” to person on the machine next to you, but you don’t know people by name, you don’t encourage them to push harder and you don’t help them clean up their equipment after they work out. There’s a sense of community in CrossFit. There’s a sense of belonging. You want to build that type of sense of belonging in your organization. That sense of belonging and community is one of the things that keeps me coming back to CrossFit. I have been at it for four years and it would feel odd not seeing the people I see at CrossFit. That’s the same sense of belonging you want to build in your organization.
If you’re an operations leader or HR leader reading this, ask yourself this question. What could I do in my organization to build a community that has that sense of belonging? Is it getting to know the people by walking around every day? Is it events where people can get to know each other? Is it going that extra mile to help that new person succeed? Is it asking someone how their spouse or kids are doing?
If you want to drive employee retention, this employee retention author will tell you, it’s a must that you build a sense of community where people feel a sense of belonging. If you do that, you will see people stick around when they might otherwise leave the organization. The question is, do you want your organization to be like my CrossFit gym where people stay for the long haul, or just another gym?