Why Making Work about More than Work is Good for Business

We get up, we get dressed, we go to work, we go home.  The next day and the day after that and so on and so on, we get up, we get dressed, we go to work and we go home.

We spend a large percentage of our lives getting ready for work, getting to work, being at work and getting home from work.  Depending on which research paper you’re looking at, the majority of people spend 32 – 37% of their entire life at work. That’s not including the getting there and the getting back home time.

That’s hug.  It’s almost 1/3 of our entire life!   The chances of winning the lottery are slim. We’re going to have to keep going to work, so what can we do to improve the quality of those hours, days and years?

Business owners, managers, and leaders set the tone, they create the foundation for their corporate culture. Business owners, managers and leaders who look for ways to create a positive work environment for their team members benefit. Employee engagement goes up and when employee engagement goes up, the following things happen:

1.  Customer retention increases

Actively engaged employees (a.k.a. satisfied internal customers), stay longer and are more productive than disengaged employees (a.k.a. disatisfied internal customers) counting the hours down until they can shut off the lights and go home.  Actively, engaged employees provide higher levels of service, more consistently, than disengaged employees.  External customers like being served by actively engaged employees, which increases the likelihood they will return.

2. Customer acquisition cost decrease

Recruiting new internal customers and new external customers is costly. It can cost up to five times more to acquire a new external customer than to keep a current one coming back.  From an internal perspective, every time you lose a customer, you need to spend time and money recruiting, interviewing and training.  It can take months for the new internal customer to really nail their role, which means reduced productivity not only in that one role, but also with other people supporting and assisting the new customer.

Increased retention and decreased acquisition costs … how is that a bad thing?

Making work about more than work is good for business.  Here are a few ways to make that happen.

1.  Have some fun.  The ability to laugh, to have fun is important.  When work is fun, team members will like coming to work more and their stress levels will be reduced, two factors which decrease absenteeism and turnover. When work is fun, creative solutions for challenges are easier to reach.  Being too serious limits creativity; playing with a problem invites creativity. And when team members laugh together, that shared laughter strengthens relationships and helps promote group bonding.  Here’s a link to some ideas on how to make work more fun.

2. Give back to your community.  There are many ways to give back.  I have chosen to give a percentage of my profits to the Women Build Committee at Habitat for Humanity.  I know every time I facilitate a workshop or present a speech, I am helping build a home for a family.  Whether it’s a cheque each month or if it’s employees volunteering time while on the clock, employees feel better about coming to work when they know their efforts are helping to make their community better.

3. Focus on the benefit you provide to your customers.  Yes, I know businesses need to be profitable or pretty soon there is no need for employees. But emotional connections are rarely made when employees see their customers as dollar signs.  What need are you meeting? How are you making someone’s day just a little bit better when you unlock the doors and turn on the lights?  Share that with your team members.

And last but not least … ask the people you work with!  After all, if it’s about trying to improve the quality of up to 30% of their lives, getting their input and suggestions is a good idea.

Go ahead … ask someone today.  It might be a fun and productive way to bring another work week to a close.


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