Levity at Work

People who know me know that I am passionate about how “human resources” should be treated primarily as “humans” and not as “resources.” I read two posts today that I thought were worthwhile as they relate to how to treat employees and the effect of levity in the workplace.

The first, from Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project blog was a review of a new book by Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher called The Levity Effect. Gretchen summarizes:

It’s about how “levity” can transform the workplace. They make a powerful case for why levity is an extremely effective tool for helping people to work better.

Included are questions from a quiz about the workplace, most of which I can honestly say are a big fat ZERO at my company (I won’t bother to identify which for the sake of my continued paycheck).

  • New employees are made to feel welcome
  • Meetings are positive and light
  • We have fun activities at least once a month
  • It’s common to hear people laughing around here
  • I can be myself at work
  • We have a lot of celebrations for special events
  • When brainstorming, we like to have fun
  • My boss is usually optimistic and smiling
  • Customers would call us fun to do business with
  • I have a friend at work who makes me laugh
  • We have a good time together
  • People at work should be people, not automatons. Human resources are, in fact, human. They like to socialize, make friends, laugh. Why would all of this be unacceptable in a workplace? Even in the very serious financial services market, humans are humans, and humans like to enjoy themselves. Especially in a place where they spend the overwhelming majority of their waking hours. Work is work, and people should work there, but I do not believe that “work” precludes “fun” or at least “lightly social.” I definitely plan to put this book on my reading list.

    Isn’t it obvious that happy workers are better workers? Which leads to the second blog post.

    Trizle is a blog about how to “rock your business.” Mostly aimed at small business people running a business, I find their tongue in cheek approach to business advice fun to read and pointedly accurate. Today’s post, How to Manage Your Employees focuses on treating them like the kings of the castle. Hooray! Here’s an excerpt of the part I like best. Partially because this is how I try to treat people who report to me and partially because I would give anything to work in a place where this philosophy is embraced.

    So, what do your employees need to perform?

    • resources to do their work
    • support to do their work
    • freedom to do their work

    The more you serve them:

    • the more you’ll boost their performance
    • the more you’ll skyrocket employee morale
    • the more you’ll fatten that bottom line

    In other words:

    • Treat employees like their Kings of Your Company.
    • See the magic.

    So the moral of the story is: Work someplace happy. Really. It’s worth more than the money. Especially when you’re young and responsible for only yourself.

    And be able to laugh at yourself. Others may laugh along if you welcome them.

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