Fun at work is good business

One of the best qualities of a desirable employer is encouraging employees to have fun in the workplace. Employee recognition programs can be designed to incorporate fun as well as reinforcement of desired behaviours.

People who are having fun in the workplace tend to be engaged and connected, care about the company and the customer, get the work done and tend to stay in their jobs. Fun also contributes to employee motivation and engagement, which has been shown to impact productivity and profit.

Employees who enjoy their work experience less stress and boredom, and are more productive and innovative. The benefits to an employer are reduced tardiness, reduced absenteeism, and reduced turnover. In addition, happier employees generate fewer customer complaints.

How should employers go about developing programs to engage employees and create more fun in the workplace? Fun in the work context is best when it’s based on corporate values and aligned to recognition of employee achievements. Such programs don’t have to be expensive.

One client I worked with introduced a program to reward employees who are caught doing the right things (working extra hard to support customers or their teams, for example). Employees can earn dinners at local restaurants, movies, or company products. This program has substantially increased employee engagement and has won over even the most cynical employees.

Recent research in the HR field indicates that companies with high levels of employee engagement are more productive and profitable than companies with low levels of employee engagement. A fun workplace is one element contributing to positive levels of employee engagement.