Pulse May 2017 - Page 19

Workplace Fun is FUN-damental for Learning mistakes, for example. The study looked at fun activities supported by management to enhance well-being—team-building activities or celebrations to recognize achievements for example—and the manager’s overall support for fun on the job. A manager’s support for fun mattered more than his or her support for learning, according to the researchers. “There’s a lot of talk in the literature about a manager’s support for learning, or creating a climate for learning, and how that makes a culture for learning where workers learn from one another,” says Tews. “What we’re showing is that fun on the job actually matters as much as—or even more—than that support for learning.” ll work and no play make for some very unhappy employees. Unhappy employees have, in the past, shown a direct negative corre- lation to retention and performance, but a new study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior finds that a fun workplace leads to a better environment for informal learning, which includes most unstructured, non-classroom forms of “...researchers suggest it may not learning. be the fun activities themselves that “Most learning at the workplace occurs independently at the desk, or with a few instill the new lessons. But how fun other people, not necessarily in a creates a better learning environment.” classroom,” says Michael Tews, associate professor of hospitality management at Penn State University. Tews worked with John W. Michel, associate Fun can also bring coworkers together which, in turn, aids professor of business and management at Loyola University and learning between workers. “It creates this group cohesion,” says Raymond A. Noe, professor of management and human Tews. “So, when there’s fun, then the co-workers may be able to resources at Ohio State University on the study. get to know each other, have better connections, and be more apt The researchers suggest it may not be the fun activities to help each other.” themselves that instill the new lessons, but how fun creates a How are you creating a fun environment for your employees? better learning environment. People in fun work environments Do you encourage them to share light-hearted moments as well are more inclined to try new things and not fear possible as create activities that make learning less structured and fun? n A May 2017 ■ PULSE 17