Health, wellness and profit
Creating a satisfying and fun environment results in employees who are not only satisfied with their jobs but also loyal
Most people don’t think of the word “fun” when they’re asked to describe their jobs. However, there are more than a few reasons employers may want to think twice about ignoring this important aspect of their company culture.
Employees of companies voted as the best places to work are much more likely to enjoy their jobs to the point of actually using the “fun” word. This is not to imply that employees are goofing off and not being productive. On the contrary, employees who are allowed to be themselves and tap into all parts of their brains, including their inner child who craves play, tend to show a higher level of dedication to their jobs and to their employers.
As humans, we are drawn to situations in which we feel comfortable and enjoy life. The closer our work culture comes to matching employees’ visions of what they desire in their personal lives, in regard to having their basic needs met – mentally, physically and emotionally – the more likely they are to be satisfied with their jobs.
Upping the ante, and creating a highly satisfying and fun environment, results in employees who are not only satisfied with their jobs, but also loyal. Employee loyalty should be the ultimate goal for employers, because it will come back to them tenfold. Loyal, happy employees are more productive, take fewer sick days, contribute positively to company morale and are obviously less likely to quit. All of these attributes help build companies that are more profitable.
You may ask, “How do we change our company culture to add in the fun factor?”
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Make more time to have friendly conversations with your employees to the point of finding something to laugh about. Show them a more human side of you. Let them know you care about them as the people they are and appreciate their choice to work for you.
2. People are social beings and your employees don’t want to be limited to being social only outside of work. Plan an occasional free lunch, ice cream break, or bring in a fun speaker on company time. Onsite chair massage is also very popular.
3. Continually find ways to reduce work stress as much as possible. Working in a stressful environment is the polar opposite of being relaxed; your employees are not capable of having fun if they are constantly stressing about work pressures.
4. Allow employees to give back to the community in a variety of ways. Supporting employee volunteerism during work hours once in a while is applauded, but also be sure that employees have input regarding how they would like to help, what activities they enjoy participating in, and which organizations they want to support. The resulting level of commitment will be much higher with employees having more fun.
5. Support a strong wellness program that resonates with the employees. If participation is less than an average of 70 to 80 percent, find the cause. While employees need education and motivation regarding health and wellness, they also need to perceive the program as being fun and welcoming.
6. Weed out bad managers and supervisors. Recent studies have shown that the number one cause of costly employee turnover is directly due to employee dissatisfaction with immediate superiors. Employees will never describe their jobs as fun and feel loyalty toward a boss they dislike. I believe that people go into management for one of two reasons: They are positive people who love to lead or they are negative people who love to control. A gross generalization, perhaps, but I believe this to be true, for the most part. Do everyone a favor and retrain or get rid of the terrible bosses. In the end, you’ll profit from the decision.
Several studies have reported that younger employees, in particular, are insisting on working in a company culture that is more flexible, relaxed and fun. As more young people enter the workforce, and older workers retire, these preferences will need to be addressed. But, why wait?
Companies can easily implement these changes and evaluate the effect on the bottom line over time. If the findings reveal that employees are happier, healthier and more productive, while employers realize increased profits, everyone wins.
Carol Phillips, a Manchester-based health and wellness expert, is author of “52 Simple Ways to Health” and host of the radio show, “Ask Coach Carol.” She can be reached through HealthDesignNH.com.