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Keeping It Fresh

Keeping It Fresh

by Frank Roche on September 2, 2008

in Creativity

My teenagers started school today. Our house was abuzz at 5:30, and by 6:30, it was electric. The boys — a high school sophomore and senior — were in a great mood. They were fooling around, checking their schedules, printing out last-second reports that are due today. It was great. My wife, who’s the math tutor at the high school said, “I’m going to be in a school with 2,000 of these!” They all left smiling.

I know it won’t last. Some day in late December there will be grumbling. The guys will be tired. It’ll be dark. And it’ll become a slog. The good news is that they get a winter break, and then they’re renewed; they’re happy to see their friends again.

Which makes me wonder about renewal at your shop. How are your people feeling today? Are they happy to come in after the 3-day weekend (here in the U.S.), or are they slogging in? Sure, you can’t start a new school year, but there has to be a way to re-energize people from time to time, and by that, I don’t mean bringing donuts (which are nice, but they don’t have much to do with morale). How about a few of these ideas to pump up the energy:

  • Send everyone through orientation — again. When new hires join, they’re overwhelmed. They have to sign up for their benefits, learn names, and find the bathroom. A fresh orientation would say, “Hey, we are serious about this.” And it would be new.
  • Send a “Welcome Back” letter. When you return to school, you get a letter from the principal welcoming you to school. Imagine how easy, and how effective, it would be to send a welcome back letter on any Monday.
  • Give people new supplies. Is there anything better than getting a new backpack and filling it with notebook paper and freshly-sharpened No. 2 pencils? If you want to re-energize, think about simple things like new supplies.

I’m sure there are a thousand ideas about refreshing the workplace. Wouldn’t it be great if your place had the energy of the first day of high school? You could bottle that stuff and sell it.

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