This employee retention speaker and employee retention expert was actually surprised about the subject when I talked to these people. What were we talking about? Turkeys!!! Yes…Turkeys. The people I talked to were very grateful for the certificate they received to purchase a Thanksgiving turkey. This employee recruitment expert remembers when every employer gave out a turkey for Thanksgiving and a ham for Christmas. That was the tradition.
Part of this tradition in many organizations I worked in was to hand out the turkeys or the ham in-person to every employee. This was no small feat in a plant of 600 employees. People loved it. They were feeling good about the holiday season and leadership loved having the opportunity to just chat for a brief moment with everyone and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. As leaders, it helped show the human side of us. Our goal was to send the message of being grateful for what we had and that our people mattered. Just this small gesture mattered. It still matters today but many organizations have stopped doing it.
Consider that with the wage inflation we are experiencing people are getting significant raises without much comment or fanfare. Then comes the turkey and everyone is excited. To me, that is amazing. That’s why I think it’s really the thought that matters to employees. You don’t have to do a turkey to celebrate but it’s the gesture during the holidays that counts.
Many organizations have stopped this tradition but it’s clear to me that things like this matter. If you are thinking about your employee retention strategies, give out the turkey. As organizations stop doing it, this differentiates you from other employers and every little bit helps when it comes to employee retention. It’s not the $30 the turkey costs. That’s chump change. It’s the thought that counts!