According to Jack Stack, CEO of SRC Holdings Corporation and business advisor, playing games is a natural activity and serves to exercise an individual’s desire to compete. In an interview conducted by the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship, Black describes his early experience in corporate America and his increasing frustration with an unimaginative workplace. He suggests that a stimulating work environment can keep employees engaged and motivated. Games and contests allow employees to succeed, which improves self-esteem and staff morale.
The more input in terms of ideas to a project, the better the result. The ideas and skills of a diverse group can lend more innovation than the contributions of a single individual. Contests that include the efforts of many help to reinforce an appreciation for diversity and individual strengths.
- Set a goal such as achieving a certain level of output. Make the goal challenging but not unattainable. It should be a goal that many people can contribute to. The effort involved will improve teamwork and encourage determination. If the goal is attained, staff can celebrate the group’s efforts.
- Paul McGhee, Ph.D. offers many suggestions on his website Laughter Remedy.com. One example is to provide a prize to the employee who has the toughest customer of the week, the hardest project, or the tightest deadline. This involves the sharing of experiences and problems. Staff vote for the winner. This type of context allows staff to share best practices with respect to complex situations.
- Organize a sweepstakes for a current event such as the soccer World Cup, basketball March madness, or the Superbowl. Draw names for the winner or record who wins the most points.
Fun and laugher provide light relief in a stressful day. They can help with problem solving, remove barriers, and promote creativity. However, it is important to follow certain guidelines to ensure that no employee is offended. Such guidelines include choosing games that are appropriate and that include everybody. There should be no sexist, racist, or sexual connotations, nobody should be teased or made fun of, sarcasm should be avoided, and the game should not detract from overall business operations.