Rule 6 of becoming a great place to work: Have fun

“Have fun: Why enjoying what you do is an important part of business success”
is part 6 in a blog series: 6 extraordinary ways to be a great place to work

Being “the workplace of a lifetime” is one of our company’s 10 core values that earned us recognition from Best Companies Group as a great place to work. “If you’re having fun, you’re doing it right” is another part of the NetGain Way. Without some fun along the way, your employees aren’t going to view your company as the workplace of a lifetime, no matter what great perks you offer to them.

Fun isn’t something to take for granted. Creating enjoyable experiences is hard work!

In my last article, I suggested using a designated onboarding leader to ensure consistency of the onboarding experience for new employees. For that responsibility, having one organizer makes sense. You don’t want to make a single person in your company accountable for making it a fun place, though. It’s the obligation of every leader—from the executive team to department managers—to set a good example and foster a fun environment.

Fun in the workplace

Early on in this blog series, I advised that spending time together is necessary to be a great place to work. It’s one example of the fun events you should make sure your employees experience.

This past year, the executive team and other managers at my company have organized dozens of fun outings and surprises. Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Our tactical operations team conducted a scavenger hunt that saw engineers searching around the office and at locations all across town to discover hidden clues.
  • We ate together and made it fun! Several times during the year year, different departments hosted cookouts and potluck meals. We also brought in vendors to pass out popsicles on hot summer days!
  • Every department in the company “presented” another department to the rest of the company. It was meant to be an exercise in cross-departmental communications, but it turned into a contest to make the best presentation. Our marketing team made a Jeopardy game show to present our Finance department. The professional service sales team produced a TV news report to showcase the marketing team. Members of the managed services team conducted interviews of our service delivery engineers to showcase their after-hours interests and activities.
  • One of our departments had a team-building event racing each other in go-carts at a local amusement park.
  • This year we launched a Star Wars costume party on “May the Fourth,” with an hour of PTO for every employee who participated.
  • As we do every year, we’re planning a great Christmas party. I know we all look forward to the meal, awards, and getting to visit with everyone’s spouses.
  • Several teams went to “breakout rooms” and combined their brainpower to beat the game and “escape” together.
  • As I mentioned in an earlier post (Know who you are), the engineers in our network operations center each received a Nerf gun for a surprise battle (and the fun has continued –see if you notice it in this video about our employee culture).
  • As we do every year, we had a full day of games and prizes to celebrate our anniversary and employee appreciation day.

Those are just a few examples. Your company has its own culture, its own traditions, and its own local opportunities for fun events. Be creative! Don’t let a week go by without doing something that puts a smile on your employees’ faces.

Fun in the workplace

Having fun on the job can’t just be about parties and special events. The work you do should be fun on its own. There’s a sense of contentment that comes from enjoying what you do and striving to do it well.

That’s possible by “getting the right people on the bus,” to use Jim Collins’s terminology from Good to Great. He says recruiting bright employees is a hallmark of successful companies. He also stresses how important it is to “get them in the right seats,” which means making sure they have responsibilities appropriate to their interests and abilities.

An easy way to make work more fun is to ensure that employees are great at what they do. Providing ongoing training and professional development opportunities yields dividends for your company. Give your employees time to increase their knowledge and encourage them to obtain advanced certifications. I’m sure you’ve heard: Stop worrying about what happens if you train your employees and they leave. Start worrying about what happens if you don’t train them and they stay.

This post concludes my blogs series 6 extraordinary ways to be a great place to work. If you haven’t read them yet, check out the previous stories I shared:

  1. Know who you are
  2. Spending time together
  3. Make your clients love you
  4. Bag your BHAG
  5. Jazz up new employee onboarding
  6. Have fun
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