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 Can Fun = Success?

  • April 2, 2019
  • Written by Meridian Admin

What do Adobe, Yahoo, Google, Walt Disney, Nike, Apple, Southwest Airlines all have in common, besides their success? They are all heralded as great, fun companies to work for by employees and customers react very positively to their corporate personas. Search for “fun companies” and you’ll find out why these and many other firms attract the best people to work for them, and provide excellent customer service.

Fifty years ago the workplace was a very different place; for the most part, it was not a place to have fun, it was very much a them and us environment and if you kept out of trouble and worked hard, and showed respect to your bosses you might expect to work there from cradle to grave as the saying goes.

Fast forward to today, and it’s a different picture; employees have choices, they can and will take their skills elsewhere in the time it takes to print a resume. They have expectations and they don’t settle. But still, some employers seem to hang on to the old ways and treat their employees as somehow subservient, as if they are lucky to have a job. This leads to high staff turnover, incalcitrant employees and inevitably unsatisfied customers.

Is your company fun? For your employees? For your customers? Suppliers? Investors? Does it matter? There is a lot of evidence out there that points to, yes it does, that it matters a great deal. Your internal corporate culture dictates how you are perceived as a company. Who would you rather buy from or deal with, a company that has a fun, positive, upbeat attitude, or one that seems dull, boring, and whose employees always look sad, bored, unhappy?

There are many ways you can make your company’s environment more fun without necessarily following Adobe’s example of offering staff a meditation room, kickboxing classes and TGIF events on Fridays or Patagonia whose west coast offices allow flex-time based on the weather so people can hit the surf when the waves are high!

So, what can you do to make your company hipper? What might change everyone’s perception of you? Here are 10 things you might consider.

  1. Dress code – too strict and your employees will feel confined, to casual and your customers might be turned off. What about asking your team what they think? They may surprise you and decide on matching clothing, a uniform, or at least similar colours.
  2. Do you allow staff to decorate for the holidays, or dress up for Halloween? Perhaps this could become a tradition and create a sense of pride in the workplace?
  3. What could you offer employees that would make them smile and feel you care? Perhaps workplace massages once a month (bring a masseur into the workplace – don’t try it yourself!), or yoga classes before work or at lunchtime. These small things can make a big difference to morale.
  4. If your lease is due, how about considering moving to a funkier location? Both employees and customers might appreciate and react positively to somewhere a little more upbeat, modern, funky. Even the media might latch on to it and give you some press coverage.
  5. Depending on your type of company, allowing staff to bring well-behaved dogs to work can be an amazing happiness booster.
  6. If you have room, install a table-tennis table, a pool table or something similar in your staff room. Keeping employees happy will pay off in positive attitudes and in the end result in a happier workplace and satisfied customers.
  7. Fun brainstorming sessions for the team with a focus on coming up with new products and services, or ways to market existing ones better can provide a fun few hours and also give employees the feeling they are of true value to the company, and part of its future success.
  8. On the same track, consider hosting an annual company golf tournament, a paintball adventure competition or any event as long as it’s fun. If you don't have enough employees (yet) then consider inviting customers or suppliers. Even a chilli cookoff could be great.
  9. Many companies make employees pay for their coffee, they think, “hey why should I as the boss pay for their coffee?” On the other hand, some not only make coffee and tea freely available but pay for healthy snacks. Which company do you think has the happier and more dedicated employees? And really, in the big scheme of things, the cost is negligible compared to the upside.
  10. Building fun into the company can also involve volunteering. Adopting a good cause and giving employees time off to volunteer, while also raising money throughout the year for ‘their’ cause can be fun and build a strong team environment.

You may think that these types of activities are only applicable to larger companies, such as those listed at the beginning of this article, or perhaps only high-tech companies run by millennials, but in almost all cases the companies who act in this way did so from inception. It was always part of their corporate culture. Maybe, in part at least, it Is why they became successful in the first place.

What can you do to make your company a fun place to be?

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