When interviewing prospective employees I often hear from them, “I want to own my own bakery someday, I think it would be fun”. My snarky older self thinks, if you knew how much “FUN” this really is, you might change your mind. The long hours, labor intensive, temperamental baking process, and staying educated on food allergies which these days Geez, this is becoming more labor intensive then any of the other items listed, and so on. Of course, during the interview, I smile, nod and say, “Yes, it is fun,” the interview ends and we go back to work.
Recently, after my interviewee left, I felt convicted to shake things up, get out of my snarky self and think about ways to put more fun into the workplace. After all, we are creating delicious cookies and cupcakes and delighting people with our product. Shame on me as an owner that I forgot this and took for granted the end result of what we are doing and creating; blessing someone’s day. It was time to motivate the employees again, reward the customers, rejuvenate myself and put some fun back into our environment. To get started I decided to:
- I hired a social media consultant – It was time for some new ideas, put some new pizazz into our marketing. The company I hired came up with ideas on how to engage our customers and in turn that engages our employees. I found a team that was willing to work within my budget. They create the strategies, I implement them, win-win. We have found the new ideas have increased our social media presence, resulting in more customer comments and sharing these with our staff has been encouraging.
- I purchased a small book called “Fish”, a proven way to boost morale and improve results by: Stephen C. Lundin, which you can order online.
Each of my managers was given the task to read it and come prepared to discuss 5 key ideas we could implement for our employees and our customers. This is an easy read; you can crank it out in an afternoon, but overall had some good points and reminders, well worth your afternoon.
- We met and brainstormed fun ideas.
- Monthly potlucks – this allows employees to get involved and share their favorite foods with their co-workers. I would suggest a theme, such as baked potato bar, taco bar, etc. or you might end up with some very random lunches. Hey, everyone brought dessert for lunch (okay, maybe you don’t find that all bad). There is something about the act of sitting around a table and discussing work and life over food that brings people together.
- Wacky days – monthly days such as wear a costume on Halloween, wear your craziest/silliest t-shirt to work day, Hawaiian theme, favorite sports team, camouflage, ugly Christmas sweater and you get the idea. Not only will this give the staff a good laugh it will also engage the customers as well and, as my new Social Media expert pointed out, something to talk about on Social Media as well.
- Pay it forward – This idea works well in November around Thanksgiving, each staff member will pay it forward for another staff member. For us this might mean choosing a task that is their least favorite and doing it for them, bringing them a handwritten note or small token gift. The point of our ideas is they do not all have to cost money and you are bringing a smile, which we all know is contagious.
- Motivational posters – we decorated the back of the bakery with attitude posters, customer service sayings, little daily reminders that help you put a smile on your face. Once again, make that smile contagious.
We have implemented these ideas for three months now and early results show that this is helping the camaraderie in our Shoppe. Employees are feeling appreciated. It is creating good will with customers and changing the daily routine to help create fun at work. After all, the average U.S. employee works an average of 261 days a year, so we could all use a little more fun in the year.
Share with us your ideas to put fun in your workplace.