Merge's Blog

Motivate employees with regular fun social celebrations

Young people playing table tennis in workplace, having fun.As frequent readers of this blog know, I am a huge advocate for leaders consciously and deliberately making it a point to celebrate accomplishments in the workplace.  My reason, celebration of achievements is so fundamental to both employee morale as well as future success.  Unfortunately though, the reality of today’s workplace is that we are busy – getting things done, fighting crises – that we move on to the next thing that is pressing, without stopping to take the time to celebrate what we did well.  To our detriment.

One approach for the consistent celebration of accomplishments that I recommend to the leaders in the client organizations I work with is to establish a regular schedule for fun social events.  The easiest way (that I have used myself): establish a rotating quarterly committee of fun, a group of department employees who are responsible for planning a fun social event for the quarter.  Three thoughts about making this work.  First, every person on your team needs to be part of the committee for at least one quarter each year.  This creates ownership.  Second, give the group a small budget to work with if you can; I’ve traditionally assigned $250 each quarter.  Chances are that the budget won’t be sufficient to cover the entire costs associated with the event, but it provided “seed money”, and individuals kicked in the balance as needed.  And third, institute one rule – that whatever they select needs to be inclusive and ethical – and then let the team go at it.  From experience, I can tell you that the outcomes will be varied – glow-bowling, quiz time at the local pub, a ping-pong tourney, mini-golf, and even karaoke – but they all had one common element – people had fun.  I made it a point to let them know that this was our way of celebrating how well we were doing as a team, and this simple act of team-building was a huge booster to morale.

What are your experiences with regards to fun social events in your department?  Do you do them?  Do you have a small budget for them?  What are the outcomes?  Would love to hear about your experiences, so please share below.

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