Leslie Caccamese -
May 1, 2012
Give a Boost to Employee Morale with these Tips on How to Have More Fun at Work
Last fall, our Executive Strategy Network met at Camden Property Trust to address the serious topic of Fun in the Workplace. With the Network off in New York City right now to learn about best practices in Professional Development programs from PricewaterhouseCoopers, I thought it might be fun to re-examine a few quick tips on how to bring a spirit of fun to the workplace.
But first, for those of you who believe that fun has no place in the workplace, I invite you to consider this:
This is not to say that focusing on creating a fun place to work will build a great workplace. Fun is not a driver of great workplaces, but it’s an important barometer. Having fun at work doesn’t mean getting a cake and a keg and forcing folks to party. Fun means taking a new way of looking at something old and stale, or something that must be done, and mixing it up in a way that enhances camaraderie, builds trust, and invites everyone to be their authentic selves. Here are five tips to get you started:
1) Do new hires zone out during your cultural values training? If so, give them a list of things they need to know and send them on a Scavenger Hunt to meet and interact with veteran employees as they learn about the stories and values critical to your company’s identity.
2) Is it time to refresh people’s memories on how that uniform is supposed to be worn? Try throwing a fashion show and invite outstanding employees to model how the uniform is to be worn. Your message will have a bigger impact if there’s a little fun in it for everyone.
3) Do you hear crickets when you welcome questions during your Town Hall Meetings? Get everyone engaged by offering prizes for those who speak up first or ask a few trivia questions and throw out gifts to those who answer correctly. Break down the barriers with a little levity before expecting employees to authentically engage.
4) Is it time for you to say thank you? While spot bonuses and cash rewards are always appreciated, they do not do nearly as much to say thank you as doing something heartfelt and out of the ordinary. At some companies, executives will man the grill and host cook-outs for employees. At one Best Company, executives even wash employees’ cars at the annual picnic. A $50 gift card may soon be forgotten but the image of your boss washing your vehicle will bring smiles for years to come.
5) Does your company leadership need to look more human? Many employees don’t get to know the folks who work at the top and hierarchy may make it difficult for employees to relate to your leaders. Break down those barriers with a little fun. Have your leaders write about their favorite band or most embarrassing moment from childhood in the company newsletter or blog. Being authentic and open is an important component of building trustworthy relationships between management and employees.
Leslie Caccamese serves as Senior Strategic Marketing Manager with Great Place to Work® Institute
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Learn more about JOURNEY: Giftwork® Leadership Development Program.