Boring. It's a scary word. For one, it means staff are not engaged with their work or their employer. It also makes companies susceptible to a broken culture, stagnant innovation, and mediocre performance at best.
Every leader should fear the B word. Despite free snacks in the lunch room, ping pong tables and comfy lounge seating, it's clear that there's a stale energy in the office. Office perks are great, but they're merely a Band-Aid.
It takes much more than shiny objects and freebies to create a vibrant work atmosphere. The end goal should always be that staff feel connected to both the company and each other. Writing a mission statement and hosting a summer barbecue may be a start, but they're not enough to make your company a place where people want to stay put.
Now's the time to get creative and launch new initiatives to chase that boredom out the door. Try these five unique ideas to rev up those energy levels (and everything else).
1. Launch a company podcast.
If you want to connect more with your Millennial workforce, then meet them at their level and launch a company podcast.
Invite all levels of the staff to interview one another. This means the intern interviews the CEO, and the Marketing Coordinator interviews the Custodian. Learning about one another's professional journeys, personal backgrounds, and what life is like in the day-to-day will immediately break down any barriers and build greater understanding.
Podcasts also work as an effective recruiting tool. It gives potential talent a chance to see how your company works and the people that make-up the brand. It also shows how invested you are in your team by having everyone's voices heard.
2. Pay for coffee dates.
You'll be hard pressed to find anyone that turns away a free latte, so why not incentivize your team to step outside of the office and get to know one another? Send out a company-wide email that you'll be compensating anyone from different departments to meet up and get a cup of joe.
The idea is to get those who don't work together on a daily basis to start a conversation and learn more about their role, responsibilities, and personality. The key to creating a strong culture is to build relationships across all levels of the team.
3. Mandatory volunteer day.
Giving back is always a win-win. Not only are you contributing to those in need, but your staff will feel proud to be apart of a company that values non-profit work.
Turn those out-of-office notifications on and rally the team together to step outside of the workplace and into volunteering. Whether it's preparing a meal at a soup kitchen, hosting a charity baseball tournament, or dog walking at the local SPCA, you'll be hard pressed to find an employee who won't be on board.
4. Kick your shoes off.
There's something about taking your shoes off that just puts everyone at ease. At RED Academy in Vancouver, the team has emplaced a 'no shoes' policy. We provide slippers at the front door, allowing everyone to step into a relaxed setting.
Try it on a Monday or Friday and see how the team reacts. It could be exactly what everyone needs to de-stress and set the tone for a collaborative day.
5. Make someone's day.
Hand out $10 gift cards to a local coffee shop, cafe or favorite lunch spot to everyone on the team. Then tell your staff that they're not for personal use; they're for making someone's day.
Whether it's to recognize a job well done or a means to say thank you, each employee can hand out the gift voucher to a colleague they feel deserves it. This initiative empowers each employee to rewards those small actions that management may miss, while also encourages them to help one another out and be a team player.