New to HR? Templates, tools and development to make you a seasoned pro in no time.
Shawn Premer shows how doing the right thing for employees leads to positive business results.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
NEW ORLEANS—Most attendees at the June 29, 2009 SHRM Annual Conference concurrent session, “Get More Work From Fewer People Without Making Them Hate You or Quit,” held here raised their hands when speaker Laura Stack asked how many administered layoffs this year.
Nothing funny about that.
Stack’s advice typically serves decidedly practical goals: Control time wasters such as procrastination, lack of organization, and unnecessary meetings and socializing. Reduce workplace irritation from tight quarters, noise and poor light.
But in her session, the president of ProductivityPro Inc. and author of The Exhaustion Cure (Broadway Books, 2008) started describing and applauding some of her clients’ sincere efforts to merely lighten up workplaces where many employees face unprecedented stress from personal and professional crises brought on by the recession.
Encourage playfulness and fun, she advised. In one Sprint office, for instance, workers had a carnival going on when she arrived recently. An employee told her they scheduled a different game every day. They appointed a director of mirth and a fun committee and were engaging in a favored activity: a toilet-paper-rolling contest down the hall, she recalled. Organizers were handing out “bucks” permitting participants to buy caps and T-shirts.
In another company, across the street from a movie theater, employees rotate duty on Fridays and a group goes to see a movie and have popcorn—“a little something to make work more enjoyable,” Stack said.
Workers at the Denver Water Board participated in a National Clean Off Your Desk Day. Before-and-after pictures were posted in a contest to determine the most improved departments. In yet another company, she said, employees made a list of swear words and numbered them. Now instead of using the swear word, people say the corresponding number, Stack explained. At Dairy Queen these days, employees receive visits from an ice-cream cart.
Such activities “really help. People want to come to work because it is fun,” she said. As evidence of need, she cited Gallup pollsters who recently found that only 27 percent of those calling into work sick were actually sick. “Others were sick of the place,” she reported, adding that other benefits of using humor include increased attendance and productivity, better problem-solving abilities, better communication, and lower stress.
Alleviating stress through humor represents only one role HR professionals must embrace during a recession, however. They must also perform the nearly impossible yin-yang task of improving employee satisfaction and producing extraordinary results. “You feel like a resident counselor sometimes because a lot of people feel the result of stress and burnout. You don’t want employee turnover when the economy picks up again; we don’t want them to leave in search of a better way.
“When was the last time you were leaving the office and had the feeling of being done? No one finishes anymore,” she said. She recounted IBM’s goal of eliminating “speed bumps” by sending around a “speed team” to uncover and bulldoze problems that inhibit efficient operation. She identified potential solutions, including:
Nancy M. Davis is editor of HR Magazine.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Talent Attraction Study: What Matters to the Modern Candidate
SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies