Vannoy and Ross

There’s lot of talk recently about having ‘fun in the workplace.’ But what is fun? Too many bosses get it wrong.

Here are the three most common strategies to create “fun” and the reasons why they tend to backfire.

  1. The Pizza Party Ploy – People can’t be bought, even with their stomach. This event gives them time to stand in cliques and reinforce what they don’t like about…
  2. Bonus Boomerang – Competition is a healthy thing, but when you create losers at work you’re set up for disaster. Plus, what happens if the same people win each time?
  3. High-Five Fakers – When compliments are conniving and enthusiasm forced, people can sense it and rebel.



But wait! Aren’t the strategies above fun things? Aren’t they effective at injecting a workplace with much needed spirit, camaraderie, and excitement? Not when they are the only strategies utilized.

Is it possible that some people have confused fun with entertained? The most productive employees aren’t confused. They know certain elements must be in place before they can have fun.

What do employees think is the most fun? When they excel at their jobs. Our partners in the field have found that when they build the following five qualities in the workplace, they have fun.

  • Develop self-reliant, healthy individuals.
  • Build a culture that is pro-active and full of trust.
  • Establish full, free, two-way information flow.
  • Build clear, achievable, stretch objectives and execution plan.
  • Create a team identity that empowers and excites.

Build these five components and fun – and results – take care of themselves.


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