Are your seasonal employees going to have a blast this summer? Not away from work; but rather, at work? If not, they’re likely to vaporize before Labor Day.
Job seekers are attracted to opportunities where ‘fun’ is included in the job description, so employers use the heck out of it. (Good thing for them the FTC isn’t monitoring their job postings or many would receive hefty fines for bait-n-switch advertising.)
The reality is that work, in its purest form, is not all that much fun. If it were, it would be called play.
That doesn’t mean being at work can’t be fun, but to create a workplace that is fun and, at the same time, one that is also productive and profitable, well …that takes work on your part. But it’s worth the effort.
What’s the FQ (Fun Quotient) of your workplace?
Step back for a moment and thoughtfully consider the FQ (Fun Quotient) of the jobs you’re currently trying to fill, or keep filled. If you were in the demographic of the people you’re attempting to recruit, would you race to put in your application?
It’s not hard to fill the lifeguard’s job at the Country Club pool, but how do you make certain the kid who’s cleaning the pool or working the concession stand is also eagerly looking forward to coming to work? How do you infuse fun into the job description of a hospital orderly, a dishwasher, an entry-level data clerk, or an apprentice diesel mechanic?
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Obviously, fun easily describes some jobs and discriminates against others. Not to worry; here are three “shuns” to up the fun in your working environment, no matter what the job entails:
3 ways to make your workplace more fun
- RotaSHUN – Boredom is the archenemy of the millennial mindset and a total fun killer. Give ‘em the exact same tasks today as they performed yesterday, and they’re one step closer to being bored out of their gourd and completely disengaging. An easy way to increase the fun quotient in any job is to provide frequent opportunities to learn new tasks, or to perform routine tasks in a fresh, new way. The axiom ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’ applies here. If you can stimulate their creativity or imagination, they’ll reengage and enjoy the experience more. So remember to rotate mundane job assignments, even if it means that you include a few of your own tasks in the rotation.
- CompetiSHUN – Appeal to the game-playing nature of young employees by seeing who’s the fastest at this or the best at that. Create ‘est’ awards–even if they are silly – for the cleanest, the sharpest, the friendliest, etc. and watch your front liners fight over who gets to perform even the most unpleasant tasks. I recently interviewed a restaurant manager who presents a “Golden Toilet Seat” award to her employee who does the best job cleaning the bathrooms each week. The winner gets their photo pinned up inside a gold-painted toilet seat “frame” that hangs in the break room. She told me that her bathrooms have never been cleaner and mentioned that her crew members are so amused by this award, they’ll come in on their off day just to see whose photo is hanging in the frame.
- InteracSHUN – When you were young and just coming into the workplace, your boss went out of his way to make certain he didn’t hire your friends because he didn’t want you to be distracted from your duties and engage in “horseplay.” But times have changed, and if you want your front-liners to be happy campers and look forward to coming to work, hire their friends, or at least, pair them with people with whom they really enjoy working.
Obviously, you’ll need to articulate your expectations for when and how your people are allowed to interact with co-workers, and let them know that you’ll be forced to make changes if things get out of hand. But if you encourage interaction while they’re at work and organize recreational activities (i.e. bowling, barbecues, softball, etc.) for your team members outside of work, you’ll radically improve your culture.
This will make it easier for you to recruit good young talent and hang on to the people you’ve got.
This was originally published on Eric Chester’s Reviving Work Ethic blog. His new book is Reviving Work Ethic: A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce. For copies, visit revivingworkethic.com.