Recently, this employee retention speaker and employee retention author was reading an article in the Stamford Advocate about how the beginning of the year was a critical time to show employees that they are appreciated.  To do so, the article talked about doing a post-holiday party and giving gifts to everyone.  They also suggested that you “take time to play in the snow,” volunteer as a team and to “create platonic valentines cards.”  Really?  I was almost in shock as I read this particular article.

Perhaps what bothered this employee retention trainer the most was that they showed a picture of 7 what appear to be millennials in a bar holding up fake mustaches and weird glasses on sticks in front of their faces.  Millennials get a bad rap from a lot of people, but the implication of the article appeared to me that the things millennials value most are items like those listed above.  I like to give them far more credit than that.  As many know, I do a program with my millennial colleague, Randy Wilinksi, called “Making Millennials Great.”  It bothered me that the article seemed to be making fun of them as not serious and only wanting to play as their primary goal.  (Other than possibly the volunteer piece)  I give them far more credit than that!  Enough about the millennial side of it…let’s focus on some of the items suggested.

I am not against parties to celebrate, but they should be to celebrate success such as length of service anniversaries, customer care successes, safety achievements and sales goals met.  Those are important to team members and to the organization.  You can have fun around those events and reinforce the success of the enterprise.  Employees want to know they make a difference and celebrating real successes does that.

As for playing in the snow. Really?  As many of you know, I am an advocate of having fun at work and building community at work.  BUT…there are far more effective ways to have fun and build community that also contribute to employee retention while actually doing things that add value to the business.

Lastly, as it relates to platonic valentines.  Having spent years as an HR Leader and looking at the legal climate that exists, I’m not so sure that valentines are the way to go.  I AM a bit paranoid about this one.

Perhaps this employee retention trainer sees the millennials as more serious than is implied in the article or than my clients have to be concerned not only with employee retention but being successful as an organization as well.  I do agree that after the first of the year is when employees often seek out new opportunities.  That being said, I don’t believe that parties for parties sake, platonic valentines and playing in the snow are the best ways to drive employee retention.