One of the most effective and inexpensive ways of building employee loyalty is to hold regular outings and get-togethers. By holding staff gatherings, you build loyalty and form bonds outside the workplace. Plus, you get a major tax break.
You can hold a staff party at a restaurant or treat your entire staff and their families to a day at a local ball game or amusement park. Most places offer discount rates for groups.
When planning an event, here are four cues to keep the emphasis on fun:
Take it outside. Hold your outings away from the office, if possible. This creates a more relaxed atmosphere and lets staff members feel free to put work aside and just have a good time. They are more likely to bond if the focus is off the workplace.
Involve families. This lets everyone feel a part of the workplace community and opens the way for more personalized relationships. In addition, spouses and family members play a major role in employees’ longevity with your company.
Make it enjoyable. Come up with a theme and hold a contest. For example, if you’re going to a ballpark, the employee who can name the team’s highest scoring player wins a baseball cap. Or if you’re headed to the beach, a beach towel can be awarded to the family that comes up with the longest list of songs from Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon movies.
Keep it regular. The more often you hold company-wide events, the more your staff members feel part of a community that works and plays together. Send out invitations at least a month before each outing and get everyone involved in a countdown.
By investing a little time and money in showing employees and their families a good time, you build loyalty that can help retain your staff.
Now, here’s the tax bonus: As long as the get-together is open to everyone, the entire cost of the event is a deductible entertainment expense. Generally, you can write off only 50 percent of entertainment expenses. And with a company gathering, you don’t have to talk about business to deduct the cost.