All work and no play might make Jack a dull boy, but did you know that if your employees are engaged with some friendly entertainment with their colleagues, their morale is likely to increase, which means happier employees and ultimately better service passed onto the customers?
There are a number of things that can impact the mood of your employees, and not for the better: a down-turn in the economy, employee lay-offs, closed-door meetings, uncertainty and just a lack of engagement with the leadership and other employees. That decrease in morale can leave employees performing at a minimal level and providing less-than-ideal customer service.
That is why having some fun, employee engagement activities is important to boosting employee morale and keeping positive attitudes, which transmits to the customers. Customers can tell if employees are happy, and if the business treats its employees right, it will treat its customers right too.
Let’s look at some tips to put fun back into the workplace and derail any worries that your employees might have.
- Set some ground rules. Make sure that your employee engagement doesn’t offend anyone, and make sure that your people know it is voluntary. There is nothing worse than being “forced to have fun.”
- Have a healthy attitude. Your employees will be able to tell if the leadership is not positive about the engagement activity. Make sure you have scheduled time for it so you can be focused and present in the moment.
- Make it a team effort. Survey your employees and find out what they are interested in. They might have an original idea that you would have never thought of. Even if you aren’t totally sold on their idea of “fun,” remember this is about them, not you, so go along with them, and try something new.
- Do an office makeover. A splash of color and some green plants can help brighten moods, especially in areas that employees spend a lot of time in. Or maybe you can skip the donuts one Friday and offer yogurt and granola parfait bar with fresh fruit instead. Subtle changes make a big difference.
- Celebrate. Don’t overlook an employee’s birthday or work anniversary. BioZyme works hard to recognize employee’s birthdays on its internal website for the entire staff to see as well as providing a card. Little things make a big difference.
- Have a contest. At BioZyme, contests are conducted throughout the year when it’s appropriate – celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day and Independence Day – you’ve never seen so much green or red, white and blue! A contest doesn’t always mean prizes, but it is fun to engage with one another in the friendly spirit of competition.
- Get together after hours. Do you really know your employees? In most small companies you likely do. But do you know their families, what they like to talk about, what their hobbies are? Why not host a family-friendly company picnic or a night at the movies (if you have a conference room big enough)? Invite the families and get to know each other. Remember the ground rules though, nothing offensive, and don’t talk work.
- Get involved. Perhaps you could choose one community organization to help with as a company. Maybe it’s serving at the soup kitchen one day a month or sponsoring a food drive at the holidays. At BioZyme, we made a food drive into a friendly competition of teams and had a great time providing to others in St. Joseph, and even in other communities where remote employees live and work.
- Get active. Another fun group activity that some of the BioZyme employees participated in this spring is a sand volleyball tournament. Some employees played, while others cheered, and all were anxiously awaiting photos on Monday.
- Change the scenery. You always have your meetings in the conference room. Perhaps it is time to move smaller group meetings to a local coffee shop, the diner or even a museum just for a change of scenery. If nothing else, the fresh air while getting to the alternate destination will be welcome.
Employee fun shouldn’t be work, and it should not distract from what your employees are doing. However, it is a great way to build morale, engage with one another and build deeper relationships with one another. Happy employees lead to happy customers, and a happy customer is hard to replace.