With record-setting numbers of people leaving their jobs, many organizations are scrambling to revise or recreate their cultures for the better. In times like these, rebranding your company culture as “fun” can seem like a quick solution to attract and retain employees. According to Harvard Business Review, 81% of people who ranked their company culture as “great” described their office environment as fun.
While it’s easy to say that your company values fun, actually making that true is another story.
What Gets in the Way?
When it comes to company culture, fun is often used as a buzzword that extends no further than the ping-pong table in the breakroom. So what’s getting in the way of truly having a fun company culture?
- Leaders’ Values– It’s difficult to have a fun work culture if your leaders don’t truly value employee happiness. Leaders who are primarily focused on profits and productivity will often make decisions at the expense of employee happiness. In order to have a fun company culture, you need to have leaders who value employee happiness and make decisions that serve the well-being of their people.
- One-Size-Fits-All Approach – Often, companies trying to have a “fun” culture fail to recognize that people have different preferences and perceptions of what fun is. Competitive and social activities are often the go-to solutions for bringing more fun into the workplace, but not everyone finds these types of activities fun. To have a fun company culture, activities that appeal to a wide variety of play preferences should be readily available in the workplace.
- Lack of Psychological Safety – For people to have fun at work, they need to feel safe to show up as their full, authentic selves. It’s nearly impossible to have fun while feeling like you’re walking on eggshells, scared that saying or doing the wrong thing will lead to punishment, humiliation, or termination. Companies that claim to have a fun company culture without prioritizing psychological safety are misinformed at best and destructive at worst.
Make Your Fun Company Culture More than a Cultural Buzzword
Beyond missing out on the benefits of having a fun workplace culture, organizations that fail to live in alignment with their stated values also undermine employee trust. If you truly want to create a fun work culture that benefits people and profits, consider the following tips.
Help Leaders Understand the Value of Play
Your leaders’ beliefs and values will make or break your fun company culture. A huge reason fun company cultures fail is that leaders don’t understand the value of play. If you truly want to create a fun company culture, you must educate leaders on the value of play at work. Play enhances creativity, builds trust among team members, reduces stress, and can even boost productivity by 20%! Leaders who understand that play boosts productivity are more likely to make an effort to support employees having fun in the workplace.
Make Work Play for More People
Did you know that play is the highest form of intrinsic motivation at work? While it’s unlikely that every task is going to be enjoyable for employees, making an effort to align people’s sense of joy and fulfillment with their roles is a surefire way to start creating a fun company culture. Rather than finding people who are willing to do the work, find people who love it. Encourage leaders to spend time finding out what makes their people tick, and give them the power to design roles that align with people’s passions.
Make Play Part of the Process
One of the most powerful ways to create a fun company culture is to consistently make play part of your processes. Whether it’s exploring fun ways to kick off meetings, dreaming up celebratory rituals, or integrating play and problem-solving strategies, adaptive leaders can find creative ways to make play an integral part of everyday life at work. The more you can integrate play with productivity, the more authentic and meaningful your fun work culture will become.
Ready to Take Your Fun Company Culture to the Next Level?
At Ziksana, our mission is to activate the world of work through play. Through our creative training, coaching, and consulting services, we help organizations overcome their biggest barriers to productivity while having fun along the way. Ready to make play a priority? Contact us today!