Entertaining employees

The company remembers that an employee is first a human being than the employee of the company that creates a sense of belonging. Infosys BPO organizes fun activities which involve not only the employees, but their families too. Take, for instance, the Petite Infoscion Day where an employee’s two daughters “played to their heart’s content” at a mini amusement park created within the office premises. The employee said he came to know his colleagues as parents; it unveiled a different facet of their personalities.

Employees today are young and energetic, and they see no reason why the work atmosphere should not be fun and exciting. Keeping this in mind, a few companies have created a space for ‘chief fun officer’ or ‘chief entertainment officer’. Infosys BPO has a chief fun officer to promote fun at work-games, birthday celebrations and week end get aways.

Even though many organizations are having fun in their own small way, the concept of a chief fun officer, however is non-existent. A manager at a Bangalore based BPO says they do not have any organized parties in the office. There is hardly any interaction with our colleagues after work. It is sad that they work together for almost all their waking hours, yet they know so little of each other. It would be better if the office mixes work with fun.

Swamped under myriad complaints about jobs getting monotonous, Indian companies are taking the work hard, party harder theory quite seriously. Brigade, a Hyderabad based BPO has a chief fun officer, who is in charge of all the fun and does not have to rack his brains with usual pressures of the outsourcing industry. His job is to keep employees happy! The basic idea according to the company is to provide frazzled employees with stress-busters. The fun includes dancing, singing, various competitions, games, parties and much more.

Companies reflect their founders’ ambitions, their values, and their personal styles. Not surprisingly, many also reflect their founders’ sense of fun. In some companies like Globals Inc, lights are turned off after 6 pm every Friday and than the whole office has a whale of a time playing hide-n-seek and Antakshari. The fact that the CEO and president himself is a 22-year-old helps.

Many companies start out being fun, but the care free ethos is tough to sustain through growth, hard times, and the constant flux of personalities. This is when a good HR or a CFO helps maintain a consistency.

At India times they recently had an event where Play-stations were installed and employees were free to participate. Similarly, they have sports events where equipments for indoor games are provided. Organizing the whole event costs around Rs 30,000, and a ‘kids’ day out’ organized for the employees’ kids costs around Rs 40,000. It is nothing compared to the positive feed back and deep commitment from employees according to many companies’ spokes persons.

The above is nothing new. During early 1970s when it was employers’ market there were some progressive companies encouraging employee get together. Take the case of Cable Corporation of India Ltd., with Siemens collaboration and Khatau group Management had a full fledged Recreation club with a Gym and a Cricket/Football ground. The Gym was also equipped with bath rooms so that employees can have shower after exercise. The Company was spending on Employee Annual Get together. Employees families were taken around the factory explaining how the cables are made followed by Snacks and a variety entertainment program. The entire day was devoted for this and finally the programs ending at 10 pm.

Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Bombay was organizing a variety entertainment and snacks program for its employees in a prestigious auditorium of the city. Employees being very large in number, the program was scheduled on 6 to 8 consecutive Saturdays.