Integris Credit Union, based in Prince George, British Columbia (see the latest Humor at Work TV video for more on them) has a fabulous motto: “Work made fun, gets done.” The motto reminds me of Volkswagen’s Fun Theory campaign which showed how people would change their behavior for the better when it was made fun to do so, most famously demonstrated in the musical staircase built in a Stockholm subway station.
One way to make work more fun to make sure it gets done, at either an individual, team or organizational level, is to turn goals into games. Employees at Zingerman’s Roadhouse restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for example, improved their customer service scores considerably after creating a “greeter game” wherein the host team was challenged to greet every seated patron within five minutes. Other Zingerman games involve incentives for the fewest knife injuries in their bakery, fewest returned meals and for the neatest kitchens.
Similarly, my pal Barry Williams instituted his “Smile Transfer Protocol” program at one workplace to encourage employees to compete with each other for the most number of smiles they could transfer onto customers’ faces.
At an individual level, several studies have shown that when people turn mundane tasks, such as stuffing envelopes, into a mental game, (say, by competing against themselves to beat their fastest envelope stuffing time) they were happier and less stressed. It might take a little imagination, but with a bit of creativity, anything can be turned into a fun game.
Michael Kerr, 2014. Michael is an international business speaker who helps businesses succeed by leveraging their humor advantage and by building truly inspiring cultures. Michael’s next book is called, “The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing all the Way to the Bank.”
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