Talk of innovation in employee retention practices. Here’s a splendid one from Freudenberg. called the TANNER, the Travel and Navigate New and Exciting Roads (TANNER) programme.

Since 1999, says Sarah O’Hare, the company’s vice president of HR, the programme allows children or grandchildren—between the ages of 14 and 20—of Freudenberg employees to stay with another employee’s family in a foreign country where Freudenberg has facilities.

The participating young people can stay for up to four weeks, and the company bears the entire cost of the trip as well as provides spending money and insurance coverage. Accommodation and board for the participants are provided by the host families, she says, adding that the only other requirement is that the participants maintain a travel experience diary.

The TANNER programme averages 70 participants per year, and since 1999 about 600 teenagers and young adults have taken advantage of the opportunity.

A brilliant idea worth emulating.