If you need to incorporate some “fun” in your workplace, here are some unique ideas from David “Shef” Sheffield.
1. Allow people to dress or accessorize for some occasion.
Whether it is St.
Patrick’s Day, Halloween, or any other occasion. People can still dress in a
professional manner and have fun at work.
Sponsor an event for not only your customers and members, but to your
employees. One of my credit union clients sponsored a day at the local ball
game. Employees, members, and their families enjoyed a ballgame and
were able to access a suite filled with a fully catered menu. Everyone loved
Be outrageous. I recently spoke at a banking convention where a VP told us
of a contest he put up for his branches. He told them, “If you hit a $xxxxxx
this month, upper management will wash all of your cars in the parking
lot!” The staff eagerly agreed, but insisted that the management team
dress in disco attire and dance to 1970’s music while washing. Needless to
say, they hit their numbers and the members who happened by the branch
that day have a great memory of the occasion.
Find a community project and encourage your staff to pitch into the cause.
Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement, and many other great causes
would love your help. This also gets your staff into the community!
2. I want to be appreciated.
It is amazing how far a pat on the back can get you. While it is true that
people are paid to do a job and presumably do it well, there is also a flurry of
Generation Y employees in the workforce that are used to getting trophies for
32nd place. It is not necessarily a bad thing, it just is. If you staff thrives from
recognition (this is not only Generation Y, but everyone); go out of your way to
By extension, if your customer or member is featured in a newspaper or
magazine locally, you would be well served to clip it out and send it to them
with a “Hey! I saw you in the news!” note. Just keep in mind that you may
want to only focus on positive news regarding your customers and members.
3. I want to make a difference for our customers/members.
Whenever I visit with my banking and credit union clients throughout the
United States and ask them about some of their greatest accomplishments,
they ALWAYS tell me about how they became a difference maker in the life of
a member or customer. It could be helping a person getting financing when
their credit score alone may not qualify them for a loan, it could be going to
the home of a client who just lost their spouse to assist them with the financial
changes that happen when someone dies, or it could be offering to send a card
to a member or customer who may be in the hospital. I know of a credit union
that replaced the broken furnace of a member in the dead of winter. It is the
little things that make a HUGE difference in the lives of your employees and
4. I want to have the opportunity to learn new things and grow personally.
”We are interested not only in you as an employee, but you as a person too.”
While that sounds great during an interview, it is important that what is
written on the wall is going on down the hall. When the economy is trucking
along it is a good idea to sharpen your skills. When the economy is soft, it is
ESSENTIAL that you sharpen your skills. Unfortunately, one of the first
categories on the budgetary chopping block of struggling financial institutions
is training. I do find it interesting that the businesses that are thriving always
seem to find the funds to continuously train their staff.
Whether you encourage your staff to attend a seminar, buy them a book (or
have a branch library), or bring in a speaker to motivate and educate them
(insert subliminal trigger to book Shef here J ); your group will be enjoying a
massive return on your investment. Perhaps you offer scholarships or other
perks to employees. No business ever thrived because their employees were
almost smart enough.
5. I want to have open communication with management.
This one boggles my mind. If your staff feels like they are part of a team, they
will do anything for you. If you feel it necessary to build an ivory tower and
hide behind titles and pomp, they will be less apt to serve. Keep in mind that
great ideas don’t care where they come from. Visit with your people and listen.