The Management Principle of Making Work Fun

Does your organizational culture include an element of fun?

Culture goes beyond employee engagement; it sets the stay for how your employees will deliver on your organization’s business promise and contributes to your organization’s financial success, reputation and longevity. Scott Docherty, creativity trainer at Procter & Gamble, believes that every organizational culture should include an element of fun – particularly as a way to celebrate success and reward hard work.
The number one thing every business should be concerned with and be aware of is that culture is the most important thing. Culture will set the stage for how your employees deliver and what kind of results you get as a company. And part of culture is that you've got to have fun at work. If you can't have fun at work, work is just day prison. You come in every day. They shackle you to your desk. You spend eight to ten hours breaking rocks. They let you go at the end of the day. And as you walk across the parking lot to your car, you just breathe a sigh of relief saying, "Now, I can go do what I want to do." So every company has got to build into its culture an opportunity for employees to have fun at work. There should always be some element of fun. A perfect example, a organization had this director who was very serious about the work that needed to get done as every company is. But people knew that she was serious about results, and so everybody delivered and worked really hard for her. But at the flip side, she also let everybody know that she played hard as well. So she worked hard and she played hard. An example of that is on Friday afternoons, at no set time or anything, she would take out a nerf semi-automatic machine gun and just start shooting people across the office space. And people laughed. People became engaged. Other people had nerf guns in their desks, so they immediately reached for them and then engaged in all-out war. And then it wasn't anything that lasted for very long. It maybe lasted for about 10 minutes. But it was just enough to let everybody know that, "Hey, it's Friday. It's the end of the work week. We've done a lot of great stuff. Let's just have fun." So I guess what I would say is the three most important things about really demonstrating, illustrating to your employees about how important fun is in creating the culture you want is number one. It's got to come from the top down. Leadership has to be able to demonstrate that it's okay to have fun at work. And we're not going to spend all day having fun. But we're going to take a moment of time, and we're just going to laugh. Personally, I laugh out loud at least three times every day and make sure that my employees who work with me and for me that they laugh out loud as well, that they know I'm not taking myself too seriously, but that the work we're doing is important. And number two is you have to find time to actually have fun. Sometimes, that's scheduled. Sometimes, it's not scheduled. So it can be at work. It can be outside of work. Maybe you need to find time to get your workgroup outside of work. Plan an activity. Go to an event outside. Get together in the evenings and just have fun and get to know each other outside the workplace. And then number three is like the whole rewards and recognition piece. You have to let your folks know that you appreciate the work that they are doing for you and that having fun is part of this rewards piece. And so you're going to recognize them, and you're going to reward them by giving them something back.

Scott Docherty

Scott Docherty is a creativity trainer at Procter & Gamble, using the principles of improvisation to coach employees and help them unleash their creativity to drive business innovation. In his current role at Proctor and Gamble, S...

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