Make Work Fun Again: The Simple Key to Boosting Employee Morale
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Most people know that company culture is important - after all, it's something that costs organizations between $450 billion and $550 billion per year in the form of disengaged employees alone. But the part of this conversation that people don't pay enough attention to has less to do with how company culture affects employee morale and more to do with how employee morale affects company culture.
There's a reason why 32% of workers between the ages of 18 and 35 say that they can easily see themselves leaving their current job within a year - they're just not having fun anymore. By making an effort to create a fun and enjoyable working environment, you can boost your bottom line in more ways than one.
Employee Morale and the Art of Building a Fun Workplace
Culture is something that your business will develop whether you like it or not. The part you can control, however, is the shape that culture takes. Your culture reflects your value system and needs to communicate more than just "the work we are doing is important." It needs to take that idea one step farther and say, "the people doing that work are important, too."
This is critical because so much of your company culture is reflective of how you see your employees whether you realize it or not. If you think of them as just "cogs in a wheel," you will invariably start to treat them that way - which means that sooner or later, they're going to start to believe it. Likewise, if you treat them as essential individual contributors who you value a great deal, they're going to start to feel that, too.
In the best-case scenario, you want your employees to show up for work every day for reasons beyond the fact that their paycheck depends on it. You want them to want to show up because they're excited about the challenges of the day. The best way to do that is to double down on employee morale and its effect on corporate culture and look for new opportunities to strengthen these ideas wherever possible.
The Path to Stronger Employee Morale
If you want to create a better working environment, you can't institute "fun for the sake of fun." As with all areas of your business, every move you make must be purpose-driven. It must have a strategic end goal firmly in mind.
For example, many companies have either intentionally or unintentionally developed a culture that incentivizes working incredibly hard for incredibly long hours. If this describes your business, encouraging employees to take frequent breaks won't just improve their mental and physical health - it'll naturally make them more invested in the work they're doing at the same time.
Likewise, you should be looking for new opportunities to get people to socialize away from the office, training employees to see one another as more than just coworkers. Never overlook an opportunity to throw a company picnic or a well-timed holiday party. Not only will people grow naturally closer together as actual friends away from work, but this bond will make them stronger team members while on-the-job. Plus, instituting a weekly "Happy Hour" for employees is a great way to boost the image of the "fun" workplace that you're trying to create in the first place.
In the end, it's important to understand that the concepts of culture and employee morale are connected in a way that runs far deeper than a lot of people tend to realize. Yes, creating a strong and productive culture is important - but making an effort to build the type of company that people have fun working for is equally so. This one simple idea doesn't just help to boost employee morale regarding existing workers, thus immediately improving your bottom line - it also makes it easier to attract and retain top talent moving forward.