If you read this blog much you probably know that I have two kids, both very involved in sports. My daughter plays on a traveling softball team and they do a great job. Except that lately they have not been doing their best and the coaches and parents are frustrated that the effort isn’t there and the results are suffering. So what happens next? Parents and coaches get stressed and as a result the girls are scared going to the plate in fear of not doing well or missing a ball in the field. So what ends up happening? You continue to lose. How important is it for your kids to have a great time on the field? How about your employees in the work place?
About six years ago, our creative services group started reporting to me. There are about 40 people that serve as graphic designers, photographers, copywriters, and web developers, as well as our own tradeshow services and print shop. Whenever I take on something like that, I do nothing at first and simply learn my way in to figure out how to best serve them so each person thrives and the company benefits. I discovered several reasons they weren’t happy. NOT GOOD. I brought in John Walsh to run things and he created a culture that focused on results but also on the people we counted on to deliver those outcomes. John made things fun and helped people understand and feel appreciated for the value they created for the company. As a result, we increased productivity and job satisfaction all at the same time.
This should not surprise anyone – just look at Southwest Airlines. Their employees have fun at work (here’s proof) and as a result, I have a blast flying their airline. My cousin Brad works at a company called Prime Trucking and I recently visited their corporate office in Springfield, Mo. They take great care of their employees and drivers and because of that, have the lowest employee-turnover rate in their industry, which is a significant problem for most of their competitors. They have an indoor gym where they can play basketball whenever they want (the CEO is usually out at lunch playing with them), there is also an on-site spa, movie theater, company store, dry cleaner, post office, mini hotel for drivers to catch a nap, and a great food service court. The drivers themselves are treated like rock stars, so imagine this – they stay and deliver results.
All I am saying here is that if you are not focused on your people – if they don’t have fun coming to work, if you don’t spend time trying to figure out how to make their work life a very positive thing – then you are totally missing something that will drive big results. If you are not interested in doing it just because it will make your team happier, do it for the bottom line. This article says it can boost productivity by 30% with 23% fewer fatigue symptoms for your people and up to 10% more engaged employees.
The great thing here is that you can start small. Can you do something different to celebrate people’s birthdays? Do you participate in community giving together? Do you ever have a monthly happy hour after work? Have you ever brought in a local school’s kids’ choir to perform at lunch? At my wife’s last job they would deliver a candy bar to everybody’s desk on Friday just for something nice. Could something like that work for you?
My daughter’s team played in a tournament this last weekend and we made sure to inject more of the fun factor. They did much better than in past weeks, finished in second place, and had a blast in the process. THIS THINKING WORKS!
This week, spend a few minutes talking about this in your management circle. Is your job fun and if not, how can you change that? What could you do to make it more enjoyable for you or your team? Tell me what you’ve done, or plan to do, in the comments section!
Watch this video and have a little fun today.