Human Resources gets a bad rap. Among the Sales, Marketing, and IT departments, HR is sometimes seen as the “anti-fun police,” cracking down on anything that makes the workplace more lively.
But not all HR groups are squelchers of fun. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number HR people who knew the tremendous benefits of humor and have been instrumental in creating fun culture at work. How do they do it?
5 Ways HR Can Create a Culture of Fun at Work
1. Lead by Example
The best way an HR group can create a fun culture is by leading the way with their own use of fun. By doing things in a fun way, HR is giving implicit permission that others can have fun as well. Employees who see a Benefits presentation shared in a fun way will think “Oh, I can do the same thing for my sales presentation.”
A few ways HR can demonstrate fun:
- Use fun images in presentations on policy, benefits, compensation, etc.
- Include a humor section in the monthly/quarterly newsletter.
- Build a game or contest into training sessions to review key training topics.
- Create a section where people can post cartoons or images on the breakroom bulletin board.
- Add a joke or humorous quotation to the end of long emails.
2. Give People Permission
To really let people know they can have fun at work, tell them they can! Give employees explicit permission to seek ways to improve their own work processes with a little levity.
Encouraging others to use fun can be as easy as telling people in one-on-ones or as part of the onboarding process. Even better, do as one mayor of a large city does and hire fun people by including “sense of humor” as a job requirement.
3. Preach the Value
Smart HR people know the value of fun in the workplace. They know that fun at work:
- Increases employee productivity and creativity;
- Decreases absenteeism and employee turnover;
- Increases workplace satisfaction;
- Decreases stress.
Smarter HR people make sure their people know that as well. They let employees (in particular managers) know that not only is having fun OK, it is actually desired as a way to improve the company.
4. Reward Purveyors of Fun
Spotlighting individuals who use fun to be more effective is a great way to create a fun culture at work. Not only does it provide a way to showcase fun that works (allowing other people to share and reapply), it also encourages people to give it a try so that they too might be rewarded.
And don’t worry; rewarding fun doesn’t require spending money. Simply giving people a shout-out in the company newsletter, at a company off-site, or even via email can be reward enough for their fun efforts.
5. Tell People How
A majority of people would love to have more fun at work, but many of them don’t know how to do it effectively or in a way that is company approved. By training on humor in the workplace, you not only give people permission to use humor, you actually tell them how to do it.
Of course, to really deliver the message, you could bring in a professional corporate humorist to teach your organization exactly how they can not only have fun at work but also do their work better as result. If you’re interested, I know a smart, handsome, humor engineer that delivers great humor in the workplace training.
Have you created a fun culture in your workplace? If so, share your own tips in the comments.