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If you are in the business of managing people, you are, or should be always looking to make improvements to your workplace. We are told to reduce turnover, to have a more productive workplace, and to have a place where people want to work. There are many ways to try to create this type of workplace. You can do so by putting things in place or not putting things in place. It is kind of like fear. You can use fear to make people do something, or to NOT do something.
This works with children, students or employees. If you are all good you will get a treat (bonus). If you kids misbehave you will have to stay after school (go to the HR office). I think you get the drift.
This month at PIC we are discussing the concept of Fun At Work. Do Google, Apple, Microsoft all make their workplaces fun and that is why people want to be there? I think not. I am always the contrarian. Here is what I think is done at workplaces that seem to have fun and a lot of engagement.
These businesses have created cultures that give employees a chance to experiment and do things differently, which the by-product of this may or may not be fun.
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One of the best examples of this I can conjure up with this is David Holmes. David is the rapping flight attendance with Southwest Airlines. If you have ever traveled with them you know that they do, do things a little differently than the other airlines. Here is a look at David and what I am talking about …
Ok so at the end of that piece you heard David say “you will not get that on United Airlines.” I agree with him on that point, because what I have learned from my travels with Southwest is they have a culture that allows their employees to push the boundaries and have fun. While David Holmes’, fame has somewhat waned today if you look back at this you learn that, David brought a lot of good press to Southwest. He was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and then the Board of Directors was so taken with him they invited him to the Shareholders annual meeting.
So there you go, from the CEO, one of his employees a flight attendant, named as rhythmic ambassador. It’s pretty clear to me how they do things and how they roll at Southwest. I was on a Southwest flight that had landed and was taxiing very close to the gate and several people had hopped out of their seat, as the plane was still moving. The flight attendant said very loud and clears, “Now for y’all standin’ in the aisle you should have a real good view of the FASTEN SEATBELT SIGN…NOW SIT DOWN AND BUCKLE UP!” This was to the cheers and claps of the other passengers on the plane. Again, you won’t hear that on United Airlines!
If you set out to create or make a fun workplace, I doubt that you will be successful. But if you do create a workplace where people are allowed to do fun things you many succeed.
***As a footnote to this post, contrast the way that Southwest is viewed, compared to this video which was done about United Airlines (not a fun place). You may also wish to note that it has 15 Million Views. That a whole lot of not fun negative press! Thus FUN IS GOOD!