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Effect_of_Laughter_on_Retaining_Top_Talent_Leading_On_Purpose_Newsletter-306c15a5 Effect of Laughter on Retaining Top Talent

Effect of Laughter on Retaining Top Talent

28 February 2024

We have this idea that work is a monotonous, daily drag - a place we must be at Monday through Friday. We sit in a cubicle, typing away while staring at a screen for eight hours a day. We visit the water cooler or break room for a brief 5-minute respite, a chance to relax our eyes and take a deep breath before returning to our dreaded assignments.

It doesn't have to be this way. Organizations are transforming the appearance, ambiance, and atmosphere of their offices. They recognize that engaging colors are more effective than plain white concrete walls, that office temperature plays a role, and that the sound of laughter in the halls doesn't indicate a lack of productivity; it simply means employees are enjoying their time at the office.

Isn't that a good thing?

Absolutely, especially when it comes to retaining top talent and being an effective leader.

  • Leaders who incorporate humor are perceived as 27% more inspiring than those who maintain a neutral demeanor. (Harvard Business Review)
  • 91% of corporate executives believe that humor can lead to career advancement. (CyberTalk)

As we know, leaders set the tone for the organization. If a CEO is stoic and rarely seen with a smile on their face, this behavior trickles down to managers and employees. Conversely, when senior leaders are recognized for embracing a good dose of humor, this sentiment tends to cascade through their direct reports, and subsequently, throughout the entire organization.

Back in August of last year, we wrote a blog called "The Power of Play: The Gap Between 'Ha ha' and 'Aha' is Small".

Today, I would like to dive further into this topic.

Why great leaders take humor seriously

Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas have a great TED Talk on this subject that I encourage you to watch in full (click here).

Based on the course they teach at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, behavioral scientist Jennifer Aaker and corporate strategist Naomi Bagdonas delve into the surprising power of humor. They unravel why humor serves as a clandestine tool for fostering connections, influence, creativity, and resilience. Additionally, they offer insights into how each of us can incorporate more humor into our lives, unlocking its potential benefits.

In the video, Jennifer cites a statistic demonstrating that humor not only brings levity but also sells. Studies show that adding a lighthearted line to a sales pitch makes people willing to pay nearly 20% more.

So humor works. Now organizations just need to fix their lack of humor problem in the workplace.

We don't need a bunch of stand-up comedians wandering the cubicles practicing their bits. Instead, leaders and employees can bring a different perspective to the office. As shared in the TED Talk, a psychological principle called the priming effect suggests that our brains are predisposed to perceive what we anticipate. In other words, we tend to discover what we consciously choose to seek. When we navigate life with a propensity for smiling, we alter our approach to interacting with the world, thereby influencing how the world reciprocates.

Basically, MINDSET MATTERS. And by changing our mindset to one of laughter and humor, we change how people around us behave. Humor is a choice that we can make each day when we step into the office.

Encouraging humor through team building

Click here to watch our Laughter Compilation video from previous Scavenger Hunts.

When employees partake in the our Holy City Wanderer Scavenger Hunt (or a scavenger hunt we custom design for their city), they might find it odd that we ask them to hug a tree or spell a word using just their bodies or pose on a playground. But these activities are designed with a PURPOSE.

The purpose is to encourage play, camaraderie, and laughter. By acting silly outside of the 'boredroom' and working as a team, walls that have been erected between leaders and employees tumble down, laughter sounds abound, and cheeks hurt from smiling so much.

We'll end this newsletter with some photos from our Scavenger Hunts. We have plenty since we task teams with photo documenting the experience. Brilliant idea if we say so ourselves.

And that's us signing off with a little bit of humor.

Laughter Collage OPA