We all want to work in a place where we enjoy what we do and who we do it with. Unfortunately, fun companies are few and far between; they’re the exception and not the rule. Many articles have been written about companies with electric cultures where employees love to be. In most metropolitan areas, awards are given away each year for “Best Places to Work”.

I think Mary Poppins was right that a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. Unfortunately, most companies ran out of sugar long ago while making the medicine taste worse.

So what does it take to have a fun company and why is it important?

1. Potential

People want to be part of an organization that hasn’t piqued and has further to go in its development. Why? Because we want the rocket ride. We want the thrill of accomplishing something great with a fun group of people.

There are fewer things more draining than working for a company that either thinks they’ve arrived or is dead in the water. You may think this is out of your hands, but you’ve got to figure out how to grow and help your people experience what it feels like to win.

When you do win, take time to celebrate! I used to celebrate all sorts of things with my team. You can too!

2. Progression

It’s easy to tell how much upward mobility is available in a company by simply reading the comments from former employees on Glassdoor or Indeed.

Of course, we must take those with a grain of salt, but if your organization doesn’t have room for you to grow with it and expand, it’s a whole lot less fun. I’ve said many times that each company needs its own org chart for the future with empty bubbles in it.

Casting vision to your team is easy when you have something to cast it to. Simply put, if I know where I want to go, then I can make the decisions and sacrifices needed to get there.

3. People

I read a review of a company recently and the reviewer said that the work wasn’t that exciting but the people made it all worthwhile and gave the company a high rating.

The people within your walls will make or break your present and future. 

Fun happens when people are willing to be real and fully invest themselves into the environment around them without fear of being rejected or replaced.

Bottom line, everyone learns quick who the fun ones are. Give them the opportunity to help shape the culture and you’ll see significant gains in performance while reducing turnover.

4. Purpose

One of the things that makes work exciting is when you know that others believe in you and your leader is willing to take the time to invest and develop you into what they believe you could become.

When we are being poured into and developed, it becomes more natural to look around and find ways to make a difference in the people, products, and customers we work with.

Our purpose becomes clearer because someone is helping us crystalize it.

I don’t know about you, but that is serious fun!

5. Payoff

I don’t know if you can ever make everyone happy about their compensation. Even in the best organizations, you’ll still find those who believe they’ve gotten a bad deal. However, fun organizations find ways to not only compensate fairly, but also establish other forms of payment that make life a bit easier. Whether it’s a health club membership, free lunch on Fridays, or a couple nights away at a great resort because you won an award, employers need to refuse to settle for good enough.

I used to host an over-the-top Christmas Party each year that my staff lived for. We gave away TV’s, Vacations and other kinds of great prizes. None of it was based on seniority or preference. It was all in great fun to let them know how much I appreciated them.

Please listen leader, take some time to figure out how you can positively impact each of these areas and I promise your staff will begin to engage at a deeper level, you’ll hear more laughter, less people will jump ship, and perhaps even your customers may comment that it sure sounds like your team loves what they do.