Making fun: why fun should be part of every employee engagement strategy

by Alex Somos  Co-founder of Juice Inc

Fun is one of the things most, if not all employees wish they could have more of in a job. I define fun as having enjoyable human moments.

And here’s the upshot: there’s a pretty big payoff for organizations that take time to inject fun into the workplace.

In fact, we have seen employees give more effort, work harder, and come up with more innovative ideas when they are in such an environment.

Good leaders understand the value of fun. That said, leaders need to also understand that not all fun is regarded equally.

We recently learned of a young leader who decided to reward his team for their hard work by taking them to a hockey game.

Sounds nice, right? It was—but not for the employees. Most of them were women of various ethnic backgrounds who had no interest in hockey. When Juice chatted with the women later, we learned they would have much preferred going to dinner and a play. And so, rather than coming back to work energized, the employees returned feeling like the reward was less about them and more about making the manager feel good.

The young leader’s intentions were honourable, but his actions demonstrated that he didn’t really know his team members.

The lesson is this: when trying to infuse fun into the workplace, ensure it is an appropriate reward based on who your employees are.

That said, bringing fun into the workplace doesn’t have to be about spending a lot of money or holding events. Small “human moments” are equally important.

For example, at Juice, we have impromptu Thankfulness Thursdays when the team is around. We get together at the end of the day to talk about all the good and meaningful things that happened in the week. We discuss the impact we’ve had on customers, and generally appreciate everybody’s contributions that week. We leave feeling energized, appreciated, and with a bit of a lighter step.

Good leaders have the ability to make their team feel special and important. By creating an environment that is a combination of appropriate fun and human moments, you do just that.

In return, you increase the likelihood your employees will go back to work energized, with clearer focus, and a much higher motivation.

Alex Somos

Alex Somos is co-founder of Juice Inc. His ability to cast vision and provide strategic direction, combined with his passion to make a difference in the lives of others’ has created a strong leadership style that creates results and breeds loyalty from those around him.