I have been and always will be a strong supporter of employee engagement. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times, without the people in our organizations we CANNOT get where we need to be. They are the vital cog in the machine that can get us to new heights of success. We may have the best “mousetrap” in the world, but if our people practices are weak…we as an organization will be as well.
Any of us can go out on the internet and find companies being praised and written about for having dynamic, fun, engaging and highly productive workplaces. And when this happens, retention, productivity, morale and bottom line results increase while stress actually decreases compared to the norm. As I so often have suggested to a) individuals and b) organizations as a whole, try to find a person or company to mirror the best practices of in your world. As in any scenario like this, choose wisely when selecting a mentor or organization to mirror and learn from. It may be someone that is at the level you aspire to reach. Maybe it’s someone or some organization that while seemingly not much more “bottom line” successful than you, is getting there in a much more interesting, fun, engaging way. And that way of reaching success is certainly less stressful and creates all kinds of other positives. The most glaring and important is perhaps a new, improved culture. And the right culture is what cures a lot of ills in today’s world for sure. The right culture creates much more ‘Team” and much less “I”, “We”, “They” and my least favorite of all the term “Management”……as in “Management says”, “Management thinks”, etc. Aaaargh! Not good!
How many of you are going through dramatic change right now in your lives, at work and/or away? And if this change was not self-selected but rather forced upon you, that is almost always a key stress point. It always is and will continue to be. Soooo, Mr. Obvious, aka Coach Dave, what the heck do you suggest? See, I already beat you to the question hanging out there. Here are a few suggestions, in list format. And for you leaders out there, here is a BIG point to make that I have learned from first hand myself….it starts at the top and then works its way down the organization. Some of this may require YOU to step outside YOUR comfort zone in order to a) show you are wiling to take risks, try something different, do exactly what you are asking your people to do and b) shift your workplace culture to one of continuing to work hard but also recognizing and truly implementing the culture of also playing together as a TEAM, showing another side to ourselves, being a real person, diving in and trusting it will all work out. And guess who always has the absolute biggest impact on this? It is always the leaders that are typically seen as more work than play, somewhat to very subdued, quiet, distant perhaps, driven, focused, etc. Guess what boss, this stuff ties directly to all of those things. Okay, enough preaching! Here are few ideas to get the brain waves bubbling and flowing out there.
  1. Create a committee of people from each functional area, aka The Fun Committee.
  2. Have a brainstorming session with NO limits at first; anything is fair game(as long as it is legal, ethical and morally acceptable – with no injuries incurred!).
  3. If this is the first time for doing this, target some sort of quarterly activity/event/gathering and PUT IN ON YOUR CALENDARS!
  4. Market the events, once established, via e-mails, posters, mentions at meetings, word of mouth.
  5. Always, always, always have a debrief after the event to learn from what went well, what didn’t and what feedback did we get to help in that process.
  6. START the same process over immediately for the next event, no matter how successful or seemingly unsuccessful the current one.
  7. Do NOT get discouraged. Change is hard and if this is “new stuff”…it takes time but will gather steam and momentum as time goes by!!
Remember, nothing worthwhile ever came easy. And making the workplace more fun for all is definitely a worthwhile goal. In fact, the most recent statistics indicate it not only increases productivity and morale(duh!), it also carries over to health benefits big time!! And who wouldn’t want more fun, less stress and lots more smiles in the workplace!
If you would like more specific ideas, suggestions or discussion… me, e-mail me, hit me on Twitter, Linked In, Facebook. I have lots of ideas but it all depends on you and your teams’ needs and desires. I am here to help!!