Startups and fast growing companies need to find a way to keep their employees engaged. Growth can demand so much attention that employers often overlook the happiness of the people who are supporting that success. In times of growth, companies experience a grind or, “growing pains.” For some employees it’s tough to see a light at the end of the tunnel especially if they are new and have not seen the growth in progress or the impact their work has on it.
When business owners can’t dedicate necessary attention to employee engagement they experience slowed motivation and will eventually lose their top performers.
When your employees find pleasure in their work your retention rates are healthy, the office vibe is positive, productivity is inspired, and employees are more likely to contribute new ideas and perspectives. They will also be more likely to volunteer and stay late when something needs to get done.
Making work fun doesn’t just happen. It’s tough, but you can do it. Here’s how…
Cater to your culture. Are most of your employees young people, fresh out of college, or more experienced and established in their line of work? You can do a little research and find out exactly what it is employees of different generations are seeking in an employer. Things like benefits, flexibility, and feedback have different meanings to workers at different stages in their life. You can cater your benefits and incentives to meet the expectations of the employees you want to pursue.
Create a morning routine that fits your employees values. Try things like bagel’s every Wednesday, or bringing in a box of fruit every Monday if they are more health oriented. Use anonymous surveys to find out what they value and what they would like to see. Everybody loves food, so that’s always a good place to start.
Make it personal. Allow your employees the time and resources to personalize their work spaces. In fact, if you’re looking to make your workplace more fun, make sure your employees have their own space. They spend 40+ hours a week here and having a place to call their own, to hang up pictures or just to decorate, can really make a difference when feeling engaged at work.
For new employees you could offer a company goody-bag to greet them on their first day. Fill it with company branded pens, coffee mugs, brochures, gag desk toys, etc. It’s just a fun way to greet new-hires and it shows them that their presence at your company was anticipated. Throw in a short greeting, letting them know you are excited for their time with you.
Provide rewards. Sometimes the paycheck and benefits just aren’t enough. Try using simple rewards for achievements like meeting a sales goal. Get creative and offer prizes like an extra 8 hours of PTO, a gift card, lunch, or a reserved parking spot. Use the surveys to figure out what prizes your employees would be most excited to compete for.
For a double-whammy, set a goal like a canned food drive and break departments up into teams. Then make it a competition to see who can collect the most canned goods. This creates two rewards, the leading department win’s a prize (maybe a catered lunch) and the entire company has contributed to a greater good. You don’t even have to add the competition. Maybe you set a goal to collect more goods this year than your company did the last year and everyone gets lunch if that goal is met.
When Work is Fun, Everybody Wins
A few small changes can make a big difference when trying to make work fun. When your employees enjoy their day-to-day work YOU will enjoy work. Happy employees are more engaged and productive inevitably leading to a better customer experience. Employers Resource has 4 core values that we recommend any company adopt as their own.
The Core Values That Have Guided Us for the past 30 Years
- Do the Right Thing
- Have an Attitude of Gratitude
- Commitment to Long-Term Relationships
- Have Fun
There are always the select few who simply don’t have fun at work and those attitudes prevent other people from having fun around them. Sometimes you may have to consider this unfortunate circumstance. 100% employee retention is not good in this situation. You want some employees to part ways if they don’t enjoy the work and bring down morale. If you’re dealing with said employee they will usually choose to leave on their own good terms to find a company that better suits their qualities and you can go on having fun at work.
What things have you tried that made work more fun? What ideas have worked at your company and what things failed? Tell us about your experience in the comments. Try out a few of our ideas and tell us how they worked for you!
Want more ideas like these? Download our free eBook “25 Employee Retention Ideas.”