FUN: The Missing Driver of Employee Engagement and Recruiting

November 19, 2014 by

One of the central messages in my recent keynote presentations focuses on what is consistently missing from most companies’ solutions for building world-class engagement and attracting fantastic new talent: FUN.

This woeful absence and missed opportunity is beginning to get noticed and corrected by more and more organizations. Hence, the major rise of gamification in the workplace, and the widespread incorporation of modern perks (e.g., Ping-Pong tables and beer carts) into the employment value proposition. While these types of “fun” benefits used to be limited to tech start-ups, companies in all industries are following suit. Why? Because it’s good for business. Having a fun company culture helps engage current employees as well as attract top job candidates.

Take a look at a wonderful rap video created by GlobeSherpa, a small tech company in Portland, Oregon. This is quite possibly the first rap recruitment video ever made:

This video shows us how important it is to have a fun culture, as well as to openly show that while recruiting. There is no doubt that GlobeSherpa’s current employees had fun making the video as well. You can see it in their faces and feel it in their movements. The video also illustrates how thinking creatively helps organizations stand apart from the standard, “same-old,” competition. Lastly, the video exemplifies that actually showing innovation far surpasses simply saying you are an innovative company.

Interestingly, you will not find “fun” on any employee engagement survey vendors’ Key Driver Analysis (a formal statistical analysis that identifies the drivers of engagement in order of importance). The reason fun as a driver of engagement is missing, is because none of these vendors are asking about it in their employee engagement surveys. Leaving this driver out of the employee engagement solution is a critical mistake because it’s one of the most impactful means of creating world-class engagement and attracting top talent. Nearly every high-engagement organization makes a proactive effort to leverage fun. I saw this success time and time and time again over 30 years of offering management consulting advice to hundreds of best-in-class organizations.

Also, the reality is we spend way too much time at work toiling away without laughing enough or having much fun. Given the fact that the number one reason people quit is the combination of job stress, work load, and a lack of work life balance, what better antidote for curing this costly turnover than fun. What better magnet for being able to hire the best talent than showing them a culture that promotes fun.

Your key takeaways:

  • Laugh more.
  • Show employment prospects that your organization has and promotes a culture of fun.
  • Leverage fun. It works.

    Kevin Sheridan is an internationally-recognized Keynote Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of Employee Engagement. For five years running, he has been honored on Inc. Magazine’s top 100 Leadership Speakers in the world, as well as Inc.’s top 100 experts on Employee Engagement. He was also honored to be named to The Employee Engagement Award’s Top 101 Global Influencers on Employee Engagement of 2017.

    Having spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, Kevin has helped some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long-overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement. His first book, Building a Magnetic Culture, made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers.

    Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies.