3 Simple Ways to Make Staff Love Coming to Work

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Staff are the first and sometimes the only direct experience our customers have with our business. Each staff member is representing the face of the business. Dealing with staff who are happy and pleasant makes this a much more enjoyable customer experience. This is why it has been said the best way to ensure happy customers is by having happy staff.

The Huffington Post shared in their article The psychological benefits of having things to look forward to. They identified that during particularly stressful moments in time (such as challenges at work, team issues, problems with customers, issues created by the pandemic) that if people have something to look forward to their whole well-being improves to be:

  • More optimistic
  • Do better quality work
  • Require less motivation to get things done.
  • More amiable to new ideas
  • Happy to work with a team

The workplace with happy staff equates into a place where staff and customers alike feel at home. Somewhere that is more than a job or a place to frequent, into more a place they look forward to coming to.
Here are our 3 easy, cheap and fun ways to make our workplaces inclusive, supportive and a place where our staff love coming to work.

Idea #1 - Themed Days (Annually, Monthly, or Weekly)

A simple yet effective, low-cost way to make our business place unique is by introducing themed days. It is a fun, creative way to give staff something to look forward to. This can be themed days, nights, annually, monthly or any time frame that works.

But we aren’t talking about those lame Hawaiian shirts office Friday themes (unless our team is into that) themed days/nights are fun and make both staff and customers alike come together to forget the drudgery of daily life and feel they are a part of something.

Why do a themed event?
  • A fun themed night is an easy way to take pressure off hospitality or shift workers doing those long late night shifts.
It gives them something fun to look forward to, happily enjoy coming to work because of t event or occasion.
  • Has the potential to make staff want to invite their friends and family
  • It might attract new customers and turn the place into a must see venue.
If done right and happening regularly, word-of-mouth can spread. This means not only indirectly helping to market and promote business, but also creating a vibe and atmosphere that will foster dedicated staff and loyal customers.
Some Ideas & Examples of Theme Days
MUSIC/ENTERTAINMENT – Make certain days (or every day) a special occasion at our place by providing entertainment. Some ideas would be:
  • Motown Monday
  • Karaoke Tuesday
  • 00’s Wednesday
  • Trivia Thursday
  • Reggae & Tropical Friday’s
  • Rap or Hip Hop Saturday
  • Sounds Sunday (with Live Music)
DRESS-UP – Who doesn’t enjoy a fun reason to get into fancy dress, be sassy, sexy, cool or weird. Think local and think niche – what would be suitable and fun. Spread the word with staff so they are able to dress up ahead of the event. Some examples would be:
  • Pirates of the (our shop name)
  • Time Warp Day – 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s, 00’s
  • Superheroes & Supervillains Day
  • Themed Colors Day All in Green,
  • Special Days – Melbourne Cup – Crazy Hat day, Easter etc.
  • Singles party or traffic light social
  • Famous People theme – Ed SHEERAN day : Red wig and large framed glasses
  • Wild West – Cowboy
  • Nautical or Sea theme
  • Spooky
    Brainstorm themes that would suit your business and employees. Involving your staff in planning is a step further in developing their loyalty and working as a team.
RANDOM HOLIDAY PARTY – This creates an event between holidays, perhaps at that slow season or time of year? Random holiday parties are a chance to bring out the unique personalities of staff. Everyone can enjoy being a part of something unique and fun that they will look forward to.
  • Halfway to Christmas Party – Or Christmas in July – why not make it an occasion to bring out the Christmas spirit and festive and jolly mood in July.
  • Having a calendar of events for a local bar or cafe creates an atmosphere for locals to frequent. If on any night they know they can come down for an event, they will bring friends and possibly become regulars. Sure – some might only come for Trivia or the Music night. But by also including specials or a unique menu theme you may end up with new customers. Events are a proven way to make regulars turn out to your venue
Done well, themed events give staff and customers something to celebrate. It will take their minds off their concerns, create regular loyal customers, loyal staff and might get your place popping on a random day or night of the week – Your local is always the place to be!

Idea #2 - Staff Wellness Day or Fitness Challenge

Wellness and Health is now a main concern in business front and center. This is an opportunity to demonstrate that your business cares about Staff: physical health, mental health, wellness and well-being.

Forbes article “10 Timely Statistics about The Connection between Employee Engagement and Wellness” found that for companies with wellness programs:

  • 61% of staff have made healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s program
  • 70% of staff have improved their physical environments to encourage healthy behaviors
  • 89% of staff at companies that support well-being initiatives are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work

Here are some ideas to promote a wellness culture:

  1. Sponsor a Team for a Group Challenge – Tough Mudder, Breast Cancer – relay, etc.
  2. Company-Wide Fitness Challenge – biggest transformation + winning team get a prize
  3. Guided Positive Group Visualisation – before or after the days shift
  4. Group Run/Walk or Workout- Organise a group of staff to do something athletic together
  5. Yoga/Light Work-Out Class – Maybe bring a personal trainer or yoga instructor into the office once a month or weekly? Perhaps instructed by staff (or a close friend of a staff member)
  6. Group Meditation Session – before, during or after the day’s work

Some other ideas to focus on community building within the team are:

  • Dinner with the Family Night – all staff, managers, and crew sit together to have dinner 1x a month at the shop or a partnering restaurant, bar or cafe
  • Break & Challenge – 5-minute dance or rock, paper, scissor competition for who gets first cut or some award
  • Dance or Fitness Competition – before shift for how gets the best shift role today
  • This might even involve an imaginary shift title
  • Example: ‘Shift Captain’ – when the captain drops a hat all staff have to do something funny (but not humility), ensuring it is politically correct without alienating or tagging certain people

Idea #3 - Be a Mentor (Not a Manager)

Ever gotten an unexpected blowout from staff over something we said during a shift?
  • If we deliver what we want to say too sharply and aggressive, we can ruin a staff’s shift & stress them out (which leads to mistakes and potentially quitting)
  • This happens unintentionally if we are stressed
  • According to Harvard professor and author of “The Happiness Advantage” Shawn Actor, it takes “3 to 1 positive to negative interactions to make a team successful (2.9013 to be exact)”
As a manager or owner, it’s easy to want to jump into a solution mode. Something happens and we immediately want to speak with staff about a problem or issue we see. But if not handled correctly, doing this could create more problems.
Stressed staff are:
  • More likely to make mistakes
  • Snap at a customer (especially difficult ones)
  • Call in sick more often or last minute
  • Take short-cuts or make issues at work – which means more work for us and the team
This is why it’s crucial to check in with ourselves before we discuss problems with staff. If we can use a positive tone and have an amiable demeanor we are more likely to be understood. We make less work for ourselves as staff feel respected, trusted and valued and they have the confidence to achieve and enjoy their work – Instead being micromanaged on how to do their job.
Tips for managers on giving feedback to staff, and how to lower their employees stress, and create a positive work culture
If we are not in a state where we can speak or it’s busy, tell staff you want to have a moment with them following their shift. That they aren’t in trouble but we need to discuss something.
  1. Say what we need to say in a calm, clear, and if possible, warm/caring tone of voice vs authoritative and critical so they feel they are having mentoring vs managing them attitude.
  2. Identify what is working along with addressing what is not working. Ask if we can recommend a way for them that would help them do their job better. Give positive feedback to them.
  3. Ask them if they have any questions, issues, so it’s possible for them to meet our expectations
  4. Verbally compliment staff where they do a good job or give exceptional service (not just pulling them aside when they mess up) Noticing staff efforts makes them feel valued and appreciated.
If we remember to switch up between compliments and critiques when we talk with them, our post-shift conversation won’t seem as threatening as a lecture. This also may ensure they don’t dread (introvert) without speaking to us following their shift. Be open and willing to listen and positive showing that you actually care to hear what staff want to say.

Conclusion

When it comes to creating a culture for our workplace that will make staff love coming to work, we don’t need to spend large amounts of money. We just need to give staff something to look forward to when coming to work.
The 3 powerful and fun ways that we can create a vibe around our business are:
  1. Themed Work Days (such as celebrating random holidays or celebrity birthdays)
  2. Introduce Staff Wellness Days or perhaps a quarterly (or yearly) “Fitness Challenge”
  3. Showing up as their “Mentor” instead of as their “Manager” by making them feel valued, respected and part of a team versus micromanaged and unable to do their jobs
Things to consider for doing ‘Themed’ or Wellness’ days:
  • Trial and see what is of interest and what works – then be consistent and adapt as necessary
  • Ensure it is inclusive, optional, and done in a way that is responsible.
  • Ensure we give it a couple of attempts to help it build up momentum
  • Understand the first try may or might not take off (perhaps it was on a bad day/time of year, or another major competing event happening somewhere else) Assess how to make your next event run smoother and better

If you are worried about staff leaving, consider once they realize how much fun that they have at work and with the team, it might change their minds to stay. Additionally, we might attract others into seeing our place as somewhere they want to work. A way to attract our next and new best staff without needing to advertise or go through a stack of CV’s!

The creative ideas are limitless! But if you aren’t sure, ask your staff for ideas or perhaps to vote on their favorite. This is a powerful way to get team comradery, gauge interest, and build excitement!