Wanderlust Employee: Three Tips to Keep Them Grounded
There are some people who never get the uncontrollable urge to travel. Staying within their comfort zone, often turning to a sedentary 9-5 job is fulfilling enough. While for others, imagining life behind a desk and in front of a computer is not ideal. They become antsy, impatient and are constantly watching the clock, usually with their passports at their side in hopes for a business trip. Not everyone is cut out for a life on the road, but for the wanderlust employee it’s perfect. They get a chemical kick from city and continent-hopping, creating an addiction that feeds off new experiences. The wanderlust employee is always hungry for thrilling adventures and activities like backpacking through Europe, swimming through under water caves in South America, eating foreign foods and even just relaxing at their hotel pool. For employers, this can become an unsettling predicament. Day-dreaming of adventures can disrupt focus, causing a decrease in employee productivity and efficiency. As summer is right around the corner and travel-hungry employees are looking for their next getaway, the question on every employers mind is: How do I satisfy the needs of my wanderlust employees to keep them focused and grounded?
In order to retain the wanderlust employee you will need to understand how they view things. Their need for adventure has been ingrained into their genetics. Have you ever stared at an image for a long period of time, then changed positions and saw an entirely different image? That is parallax and those who have the Wanderlust Gene, scientifically known as the DRD4 Gene, understand this lapse in vision very well. Adventure seeking individuals tend to view life in a continual parallax; every time they return from an exciting journey, their perception of life and its daily functions change. The Wanderlust Gene correlates with the dopamine levels in your brain linked with motivation, behavior, creativity, adventure and inspiration. In other words, individuals with the DRD4 gene are naturally venture seeking, driven individuals who crave exploration and cultural experiences in order to feel happy, satisfied and inspired in their daily lives. Sometimes working the typical 9-5 job can turn into a repetitive cycle, ultimately effecting emotions both physically and mentally. Knowing what your daily routine is going to be five days out of the week can cause frustration, depression and a lack in creativity. However, when businesses take a creative outlook in retaining their adventure craving employees, they meet their needs in having new experiences, keeping their DRD4 Gene engaged and satisfied.
The key to retention is being inventive and spontaneous in developing exciting opportunities that diversify an employee’s daily routine. There are companies who have created very elaborate opportunities, such as a small California agency who gave $1,500 to every employee, plus an additional PTO day to spend on adventure with the catch of writing blog posts during their trip. Obviously that type of incentive is not a fit for every organization so here are some smaller ways to satisfy employee’s needs for exploration.
- Rewarding Creativity: Encouraging employee’s to think outside-the-box, with the use of rewards as an effective motivator, keeps them continually engaged and focused on achieving goals; while also providing the highly cost-conscious, wanderlust employee with the opportunity to obtain high-end merchandise they desire without the stress of breaking the bank. Whether they are looking for premium noise-canceling headphones for long flights or the latest products in sports equipment, offering an incentive with a desirable and useful reward keeps them engaged with the task at hand.
- Travel Incentives: This is the ultimate enticement for an adventure seeking employee. Planning a trip is like a natural high for a traveler, but the threat of taking time off can be stressful for the employee. When employers utilize travel incentives to motivate their employees, they are expressing encouragement to their staff to explore; ultimately building strong trust and appreciation relationships with their employees. Some loyalty-providers, such as Rymax Marketing Services, give the option of redeeming hard earned points for frequent flyer miles! Helping your employee plan and “pay” for their trip is a unique opportunity to retain and positively influence wanderlust employees.
- Impromptu Off-Site Events: Nothing is better for an adventurous employee than being spontaneous in mixing up their daily routine. Coming to work and seeing a bus outside the entrance automatically triggers your endorphins, filling your body with pure happiness and excitement. The thrill of not knowing where you are going and what you are doing is what makes wanderlust employees crave traveling in the first place. When employers create unique opportunities for employees to bond with colleagues outside the office, it not only satisfies their needs for change, but also provides them with stepping stones to form friendly synergies with co-workers.