Franziska Iseli, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in Sydney, is an author and co-founder and CEO of Basic Bananas, which provides marketing education and learning opportunities for small businesses seeking to attract new customers and grow. We asked Franziska how she makes sure that her team stays engaged and productive. Here's what she shared:
It's time to put the F-word back into your business! Yes, I just said that. Every great leader knows the importance of the F-word to attract the best talent. Which F-word am I talking about? Fun, of course!
In a competitive environment with the lowest unemployment rate in decades, companies are fighting for the best talent. To win, leaders must invest in creating the best possible work environment that will draw outstanding team members to grow their companies.
Fun is one of our company's core values--we aim to add a little bit of fun into everything we do--so we are continuously looking for new ways to ramp up the F-word. This practice can transform your business, as your team will feel happier, stay loyal and become your best brand ambassadors.
In his research on happiness, Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, found that happiness also leads to higher levels of productivity. A nice added benefit of looking after your team!
The F-factor Trifecta
Before I share the F-factor Trifecta, let's start by defining what fun is. The Oxford English Dictionary defines fun as "amusement, enjoyment and light-hearted pleasure." Who wouldn't want to work for--and buy from--a business that provides a meaningful workplace that people love?
Here are three ways to amplify the F-factor in your business:
1. Fun officer
To increase the fun factor in your company, designate an employee who will be responsible for identifying opportunities and scenarios where fun will happen. I recommend appointing a fun officer, happiness ambassador or--as we call the position in our company--a Team Happiness Rockstar.
This person should be an existing team member who is empathetic, compassionate and loves people. Identify that person, then tap them on the shoulder with the offer of being in charge of team happiness. Let them know what an incredibly important role this is, and they will most likely feel honored to accept.
Your Team Happiness Rockstar is responsible for instigating fun team activities and also ensuring that all team members feel appreciated and content at work.
A Gallup research study showed that having friends at work can lead to greater productivity. Why? Because working with friends is fun!
That's why it's critical to create workspaces that allow team members to foster deeper than "work-level" connections with each other. Team outings are another great way to bond and foster friendships. (Your Team Happiness Rockstar is the ideal person to help plan such outings! See above.)
In our company, we regularly host movie nights, go on sunset walks and organize international pizza parties, where our global team gets together via video conference to catch up over pizza. Due to different time zones, that means some of us are eating pizza at six in the morning--nothing wrong with that!
3. Freedom and Flexibility
Another way to add F-factor into your business is to empower your team with the freedom and flexibility to choose their most productive way of working. Enable them to plan their day in the way that suits them best, whether that is working from home, a coffee shop, a co-working space, or leaving early to pick up the kids from school.
Ask your team what their ideal workday looks like, then consider: How can you allow more flexibility in your business? What would make their workday even more amazing?
In order to create freedom and flexibility around work, be sure to communicate clear boundaries, and set key performance indicators for each team member so that nobody takes advantage of your generosity. If someone is not pulling their weight, address the situation immediately, as it might impact everyone else in the business. Be focused on outcomes rather than the process.
When you implement these F-factors, your company will not only attract the best talent but also become the happiest and most productive workplace possible. As a business owner who has adopted these strategies, I can vouch that it's so worth it!
After all, fun is fun!