October and November, the months leading up to the winter holidays, are typically our busiest time at Sonic Promos. Our corporate customers begin planning for client gifts, and our phone rings with requests for creative ideas. Surprisingly, we receive far fewer requests for staff gifts; if remembered at all, the topic comes as an afterthought.
This begs the question… what do your employees mean to you?
It seems ironic that most business owners spend significant time, money and effort every day to impress their clients, all the while neglecting their single biggest asset- their employees. Without a reliable staff of hard-working and talented individuals, you can bet there would be no business and certainly no clients of which to speak.
So often we forget to thank those closest to us. A gift or bonus during the holidays offers a kind and generous gesture, but in truth your employees should remain foremost in mind all year long. A positive and supportive work environment is critical to employee satisfaction, loyalty and retention.
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) recently included Sonic Promos on their 2010 list of the 75 Best Places to Work in the ad specialty industry. While we would never dare call ourselves the perfect office (hello dirty dishes, moldy mini-fridge treasures, habitual F-bombs and 80’s music), we do know a thing or two about staying happy and having fun at work.
We like to keep things light, without sacrificing productivity:
Set realistic goals and follow up with rewards. While some contest that fear or punishment provide more motivation than reward, I prefer to side with the latter. Earlier this spring, Sonic Promos instituted a new system for tracking sales in-house. The staff was encouraged by the incentive of a health-and-wellness gift to participate and adopt the new system. At the end of the contest, we were all on-board with the new procedure, bouncing on stability ball desk chairs and flexing P90X muscles.
Leave the office. We celebrate surpassing monthly sales goals with a nice lunch out. We find it to be a wonderful way to connect outside the office, where no one needs to be called away by a ringing phone. The flaming cheese and tequila shots are also much enjoyed. If you have a particularly adventurous staff, you might look into an outdoor team-building activity in your local area. Enjoy some fresh air, and return with improved team skills.
Lighten up. Work is where we go to work (duh, Lindsay?), but studies have shown that a little fun can go a long way toward increased productivity. You don’t necessarily need to follow Google’s example and erect volleyball nets or install video game equipment, but you should do something to stir up a few giggles and smiles. Fart machines, inappropriate YouTube videos, upbeat music, and Tic-Tac-Toe golf get the Sonic Promos seal of approval!
In the end, you will spend at least 40 hours per week with those in your office. I promise that those 40 hours will be far more enjoyable if you can cultivate a work environment characterized by mutual appreciation, respect, and fun. The return on your efforts will be invaluable.