Every successful business is built on the effort of quality employees within the organization. If your business has effectively recruited an all-star team, how do you continue to keep them motivated to perform? Many employees find that after working with the same employer and in the same capacity for years, that their morale can decline. Going into the office every day becomes less interesting to them and more tedious, and that change in perception can dramatically impact the productivity and ambition of your team.
Rather than watch your staff become disengaged with your organization through boredom or lack of recognition for their efforts or achievements, there are a number of ways that a business can adopt policies that give employees the extra incentive. What is the pay off for building a culture of fun within your organization? We will discuss some of the key points and advantages and also provide examples of fun, inexpensive gifts that will entertain, amuse and validate the personal effort of your staff.
How Do Employees Become Disengaged?
When a new employee joins an organization, there is a period of time where the individual functions at the level of a CEO. Not that they have the responsibilities, it is just human nature that when you are starting a new position you work extra hard to establish a good reputation. It is also a great chance to showcase your expertise. After all, if you like your new job you want to keep it right? But typically within the first three years while employee performance is optimized, a downward trend begins in terms of productivity.
How does an employee move from hardworking and “eager to please” to lacking ambition and innovation? Researchers are constantly polling to find out more about how that transition happens so that employers can address it to keep employees functioning at their optimal levels. It is in the best interest of the entire organization to keep employees engaged where they are at their top productivity, creativity and contribution.
According to a recent Gallup Poll (2013) titled “State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders” there are a number of common factors that lead to employee disengagement. The research was conducted from 2010 to 2012 and revealed:
- Of about 100 million Americans who possess a full-time job, only 30% report themselves as engaged and inspired by their workplace.
- 20% of employees report themselves as actively disengaged from the goals, activity and culture of the business.
- Approximately 50 million American workers report themselves to be completely disengaged (or disinterested) in their work, colleagues and organizational direction.
What are the most obvious indicators of a disengaged employee?
- A pattern of tardiness. People who enjoy their work or start the work week with a list of goals to accomplish are engaged. Those that show up with a low amount of energy or enthusiasm and those that arrive late are indicating their apathy for their role within the organization.
- A decline in completed work or deadlines is also an indicant of a disengaged employee. The “I don’t care” attitude or the “what is the point?” attitude is pretty hard to miss.
- Lack of participation in events or benchmarks, birthday’s or other co-worker celebrations indicates a step-back from the social culture of the organization.
The premise of the report and research from Gallup was to demonstrate that with a primarily disengaged workforce, businesses could not hope to compete in the Global marketplace. With all aspects of product, place, promotion and price the key ingredient missing from a competitive perspective is ‘people’. It is the fifth key ingredient for business success and organizations that have tapped into the benefit of an empowered and motivated staff have demonstrated the difference it makes both in productivity as well as innovation.
Turning It All Around: Creating the Culture of Fun
It is time to shed some of the more serious definitions of a workplace and consider it instead to be an ecosystem of learning, personal needs and professional gratification which feeds performance. Creating a culture of fun in your organization in not exclusive to management and supervisory staff, but all staff members should be included to create a sense of focus and commitment to the organizational goals.
Can big business have fun on company time? Of course it can and the largest and most successful brands in the world have introduced ‘having fun’ into their core values and management methodologies. Give something back to your employees by designing moments of acknowledgement with small gifts they can enjoy at home or at their desks.
The key is to pick a gift for an occasion such as a birthday, wedding, baby shower or promotion and put a playful personalized spin on it. Demonstrate to your staff that you both value and ‘know’ them on an interpersonal level.
- Never underestimate the value of a good cup of coffee. Have a staffer that is infamous for the one cup after the other? Mark an occasion with this mug.
- Is a member of your social media team celebrating an event? Give them these novelty cufflinks to give them a launch and create a conversation piece.
- Fun ink stamps can create some levity in the workplace. Make co-workers and colleagues take a second look at the fun alternative messages available.
- Celebrate a birthday with cake and these candles for some good natured laughs.
- Gifting the tea lover in the office, try this unique diffuser.
- Have a staff member who has had his or her sandwich stolen? Laugh it off with a small box of unique sandwich bags.
- Know a staffer who likes to be “hands-on” for every project? This gift is guaranteed to make them laugh and it has some practical uses for them at home.
The businesses that dedicate themselves to the professional development of employees and those that can create a fun vibe win. If you have been noticing a drop in morale in your own organization, begin with smaller functions or benchmark events and share small gifts with your staff. Remember that a happily engaged staff gives their best each day and that is worth investing in.