Lesson for Homebuilding Executives: Have Fun

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When was the last time you laughed at work? If it wasn't today, it could explain why your sales are not better than they are. Executives are realizing the benefits of a fun and happy workplace. According to researchers, people who have fun on the job are more creative, more productive and more loyal.

August 01, 2007

When was the last time you laughed at work? If it wasn't today, it could explain why your sales are not better than they are.

Executives are realizing the benefits of a fun and happy workplace. According to researchers, people who have fun on the job are more creative, more productive and more loyal. They are better decision-makers, and they get along better with co-workers. In addition, they are less likely to be absent, tardy or sick.

Hal Rosenbluth, co-founder and chairman of Take Care Health Systems, has always understood the value of a fun working environment. Before launching the health care company, he was chairman and CEO of Rosenbluth International, a global leader in the travel industry. Author of "The Customer Comes Second: Put Your People First and Watch 'em Kick Butt," Rosenbluth believes that to create a great service organization, a company must first focus on its employees. While heading up Rosenbluth International, he said it is "almost inhumane if companies create a climate where people can't naturally have fun."

"Our role and responsibility as leaders and associates is to create a place where people can enjoy themselves. I know our company is doing well when I walk around and hear people laughing."

Attracting customers is easier in a joyful, fun-filled environment. Paul E. McGhee, a pioneer in humor research, says humor helps break down any initial objections the potential buyer has by creating a positive emotional disposition toward both the seller and the product or idea being sold.

Humor also helps to hold the buyer's attention even when he or she may prefer to direct attention elsewhere.

How can you infuse fun and humor into your home building enterprise? Better yet, how do you maintain a fun work environment?

First, take this quick assessment to determine how serious the situation is:

Do you regularly see people laughing or smiling at work? If not, you can assume they are not laughing and smiling with customers either.

Do people recognize when something funny happens? Funny things occur all the time, but people have a hard time responding if they are worried about the task at hand. Spontaneous humor is a positive thing. Make sure your staff knows it is OK to stop and enjoy the fun.

Do you regularly sponsor fun activities? If not, start slowly with a few activities and gauge the response. Organize a "Fun Committee" and charge it with dreaming up fun things to do during and after work. Some examples are Take Your Dog to Work Day or Car Wash Day.

Are managers and supervisors usually optimistic and smiling? It is important for managers and supervisors to be seen as team players who can relax, enjoy life and find humor in the day-to-day workings of the company. Management must be committed to creating a fun environment before employees can be expected to pass the baton along to customers. Fun is a powerful tool that few executives have learned to use effectively.

It's easy to overlook the importance of fun when sales are down and everyone is being asked to work harder. Yet, those are the times when a fun corporate culture really pays off.

Take advantage of these times to be different and leap ahead of the competition.


Author Information
Paul Cardis is CEO of AVID Ratings Co., providing full-service research, consulting and employee training. He can be reached at paul.cardis@avidratings.com.

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