3 playful ways small scale giving = big people impact

Remember Play-Doh? And the smell… surely that’s a bottle-able childhood memory for us all? Even if your artistic talent wasn’t legendary back then, your desire for fun assuredly was. And you haven’t really changed – you’re still chasing good times, including that spent at work.

Simple things like fun, freedom and a bit of fanfare may hark back to your childhood, but as workplace incentives they still go a long way…

Some would say life was simpler back then. Why? Well most of us have fond memories of days-on-end spent dreaming (and doing) wondrous things. Work shouldn’t really be any different. There are hundreds of small (even playful) ways to enthuse and engage your people, and frequently it’s the little things that make all the difference. Your aim should be to create a fun place, where they can be creative and enjoy their work. Somewhere they want to return to each and every day… just like the Play-Doh table.

The first step is to embed recognition into the fabric of your business. How? You integrate those intangible rewards that people crave – praise, thanks, opportunity and respect– into the daily routine. More often than not, that’s far more effective and meaningful than the typical awards, events, perks and privileges.

Given the right recognition people are more willing to tackle problems, show more concern about quality and reputation, and they’ll pitch in when things get tough. Then what happens? Morale goes up, absenteeism goes down and things get easier (and happier) at work.

co workers having fun

Once you’ve created an environment where recognition that is meaningful, memorable and good for morale thrives, you’re on your way to building a better workplace culture. Here’s three more playful ways to have a positive impact:

1.    Freedom

Freedom and autonomy are often conjoined twins. They’re also very effective ways to recognise hard work, a job well done, and extra effort – especially in jobs that are normally tightly controlled. In essence, it means “Do the job right and you can be your own boss”. Working hours may be relaxed, remote work arrangements made and rewards chosen on a personal basis.

2.   Fun

If a workplace is enough fun, people will come to work in a blizzard. However, since fun is different for everyone, you do need a high level of interaction and input from your people – to find out what they’d like to make work more enjoyable. Team outings, social activities, cooking classes or simple shared spaces can be perfect choices. RedBalloon has a curated range of 3500+ experiences, many of which are ideal for injecting fun into the workplace.

3.   Fanfare

Rewarding performance with prizes is only limited by your imagination. Family dinners, sports, theatre ticketsexperiential trips away, gift vouchers and personalised items are all opportunities to help create some fanfare and a feeling of excitement amongst your people. RedBalloon can help you structure a tiered program of prizes (both big and small) that has far more meaning and memorability than cash, material possessions or trophies.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Di Mace is a freelance story-making brand writer, strategist and purpose-digger. She turns boring brand messages into content and stories that matter. Find her at www.wordswords.com.au.