I don’t care what your faith beliefs are. I don’t care how successful you are in business. I have worked with hundreds of elite-level entrepreneurs, senior executives and founders.
The vast majority of the really good ones have no problem using the “F word" at work.
In fact, I think their employees love them more because of it. I have witness more revenue, higher profits and greater employee retention in any environment where the “F word" is part of the plan.
The “F word," in this case, is fun.
The average worker today stays in a job for 4.4 years, according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But this is expected to be about half as long for the workforce’s youngest employees.
Ninety-one percent of millennials (born between 1977 and 1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years, according to the Future Workplace “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey of 1,189 employees and 150 managers. That means they would have 15 to 20 jobs over the course of their working lives!
One of the most painful parts of growing a business is replacing people who occupy important positions in your company -- and the stats are against you. I have been studying businesses for the past 20 years. My studies have mostly occurred in the hallways and offices of the businesses that I have owned, or consulted for. Early in my career, I read a series of books on retention of employees that all pointed to the same advice -- if you make your work environment fun, people will want to stay longer.
Being impacted by the community-building teachings of leadership expert Orrin Woodward has also made me realize that people, including millennials, want to be part of something great, something where they can help to make a difference. If you can create a real mission statement that touches people’s hearts, and then make it fun for people to come to work everyday, you will radically increase your internal retention numbers.
Here is a good example of the "F word" at work. At our company, we spent days at the beginning deciding "why" we were going to do what we do. Like many others, we were deeply impacted by Simon Sinek’s blockbuster success, Start With Why. We decided that we were going to “change the way people write, read and experience books."
When we started sharing our mission statement with our team, it inspired everyone. People got genuinely exited about being part of this. We hold staff meetings every month today, where we remind people of our mission and how we are doing.
Now onto the “F word." Average employees spend between seven and nine hours of their day -- when they are awake for only about 12 to 15 hours -- at work. If they dread coming to work every day, then they will be horribly un-productive at their jobs. And fun does not have to be expensive. Here are a couple things that we do to make work fun.
We celebrate everyone’s birthday. We are all excited for when our company has a birthday every day. Our people really get to know each other, so the birthday celebrations are very personal. The celebrations normally include a birthday card, a cake and a little work-space décor.
We have found that everyone likes to get better, but most people are embarrassed to admit it. So we have decided to routinely invite speakers, leadership and personal development experts in for lunch-and-learn events. Our guests cover amazing topics like leadership, personal responsibility and influence. We only invite the funny ones. The company normally pays for lunch when this happens.
We make a habit of doing things for our team that are unexpected. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a sudden serenade of Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” over the company’s intercom system, a trip to the indoor high-speed go-cart track or some after hours’ laser-tag. It doesn’t have to be extravagant!
If you are not feeling it at work, then I would suggest you start using the “F word" more often. People do not want to work for a boring, dull manager or a hostile tyrant. In today’s world, folks have shown that they won’t work for those people.
If you want to create a thriving work environment and more profitable company, then think about making it more engaging -- in other words, be more fun!