Increasing employee engagement is a great way to improve productivity in the workplace. It may even be the most cost effective option in management, as the effort, cost and time put into training an individual amounts to a significant cost for a company. If retention is low, that is a heavy cost of wasted resources. So it is vital to implement strategies to improve employee engagement. Utilising fun can be especially effective, and building it into your culture will also entice clients to your brand.
- Start off the week with a bang: Monday mornings can be a drag, but to get everyone into the zone for the beginning of the week, encourage debate and discussion amongst your employees. The point here is not to get too serious, we are not trying to solve the problems of the Middle East. Debate topics should be light-hearted and fun: pineapple on pizza, yes or no? Kate Middleton or Meghan Markle, whose dress was better? When is the next season of Rick and Morty come out, and what crazy antics will they get up to?
- Keep the jokes rolling all week with joke user stories in project development. Classic references can be written as user stories, such as “Aurora borealis present at this time of year, this time of day, in this part of the country, localised entirely within kitchen”, (a Simpsons reference), so that employees initially think are real until they read a little closer.
- Encourage social cohesion by banning emails and instant messaging one day per month. Encourage your employees to actually get up and talk to each other. It’s good for comradery and social interaction as well as for the mental wellbeing of each individual employee. Alternatively, add gifts into instant messaging such as “slack” so that employees can send each other coffee gifts as a thank-you.
- Boost morale by “putting someone in the hot-seat”: ask someone to sit in front of their team and have everyone give them compliments to their face. This is a great self-esteem building exercise and helps build inter-office friendships.
- Create a team mascot: hire a therapy dog for an hour each week (provided nobody has allergies) and the effects in mental wellbeing and boosted morale will be immediate. You can even dress the dog up in company colours/logos if you wish to get really into it.
- On a Friday afternoon, keep people motivated by taking song requests during Friday morning. Make a playlist and boost the workplace environment keeping people grooving along to their work.
- Finally, spice up Friday afternoon meetings by adding references from Seinfeld, or from The Office. Order burgers and call them steamed hams (again, a Simpsons reference). Go for a jog and relive the infamous parkour scene from The Office. Whichever show takes your fancy really.
At the end of the day, investment of effort into making your workplace more fun will not only retain your employees and keep them engaged, but a fun environment in your workplace can seep into your brand and influence your client’s perception of your company. Think of companies like Google, Apple or Disney. Bringing bright, happy experiences that people associate with your name is priceless in terms of marketing.