Unconventional Ideas

By Bob Violino  |  Posted 04-13-2009 Print Email

Unconventional Ideas

Another way to retain workers is to continually offer new incentives and perks, and find interesting ways to encourage innovative thinking.

Here's one idea from Robert Half's Willmer: Hold a contest for the best idea to boost efficiency in a particular process, save money for the company or generate new business. "Develop a fun theme to carry through the challenge and promote weekly progress," he advises.

Tactics like this can help achieve a sense of camaraderie and a feeling that everyone is helping the company to weather the challenging economy, Willmer says. Organizations can also offer low-cost incentives, such as movie tickets, for employees who offer the most innovative ideas.

Companies can also encourage IT professionals to think about others. In a time when IT organizations are doing more with less, employees need some alternative outlets.

"Invite your employees to participate in charitable activities of their choice and offer them the opportunity to leave work early one day to participate," Willmer suggests. "Your employees will have an opportunity to bond outside of the office while they contribute to their local communities."

That type of bonding matters to Achievo. To foster a greater sense of teamwork, Mathaisel says, Achievo sponsors numerous clubs for staffers interested in different sports, games, hiking and other activities.

Mid-America Overseas, a transportation and logistics provider in Chicago, has added amenities to help employees take their mind off work, including a variety of exercise equipment located in an old server room. The company hosts regular events such as an Oktoberfest party, a Chinese New Year celebration and a New Year's breakfast.

"I have always found that it's not the large game rooms with pool tables, arcades, Xboxes and other items that make the difference," says CIO Mike Mierwinski. "It's often the smaller things--and definitely food--that bring people together."

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