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4 Ways to Create a Culture that is Fun and Where Teams Get Great Results

Posted by Ron Alvesteffer on March 30, 2016

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(This article originally appeared on ronalvesteffer.com. SEI was recently featured in the Forbes Best Small Companies America list and will be a part of the 2016 Small Giant Summit program)

In the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with many business leaders and one of the most common challenges that they face is in how to create a culture that promotes fun and gets great results.

I often read about the newest fad in fun workplace cultures; ping-pong tables, drinks, unlimited vacation time, putting for dollars, and other fun perks.  And while those perks can certainly contribute to a fun culture, they are not the answer for an engaged workforce.

Many question when it’s time to turn off the fun and turn on the results. But having fun and getting great results are not mutually exclusive practices.  In my experience, both are indispensable to organizational health, and one without the other does not create a healthy culture.  Having fun without getting results is just goofing off; and getting results without having fun is… well, not fun!

Here are 4 ways that we have fun and get great results at SEI.

We focus on employee engagement

At SEI, we don’t just focus on fun, we focus on employee engagement.  Employee engagement certainly includes fun activities, but it also includes activities that help employees to be fully involved at work and have a great impact on others.

Employee engagement is not an event, it’s one of our Four Core Objectives.  We equip leaders with resources that help to ensure employees are engaged with the work that they do, feel connected with each other and understand how their work matters.  At SEI, employee engagement includes helping employees to understand how the work that they do impacts each other, the company and our customers.

We focus on personal, professional and financial goals

SEI’s Vision is to “work with our employees to help them achieve their personal, professional and financial goals.”  I can’t think of a better way for a company to engage employees than for the company to be a stakeholder in helping them reach the goals that they have for themselves and for their family.

I want SEI employees to say that they achieved their goals because of SEI, not in spite of it.

We focus on performance measurement

People want to work for more than just a paycheck, they want to know that what they do matters.  At SEI, we help employees prioritize their work and measure their progress so that they see the progressive impact that they’re having.  We do this through our SR5 performance measurement system, which utilizes Scorecards, ROIs and 5/15s.

Without a performance measurement system, employees who want to succeed have:

  • No written priorities that show them where their greatest impact will be
  • No objective way to measure their progress
  • No milestone by which to celebrate their success

Leaders develop high-performance teams by creating a culture where high-performers engage with one another, push each other to do more and where they celebrate success together.  A performance measurement system provides a great foundation for teams to do just that.

We focus on professional development

At SEI, we believe that our people are our greatest competitive advantage and so we invest heavily in their development.  Great results begin when employees are at the top of their game professionally.

We believe that what got us here, won’t get us there.  In other words, we can’t be content to rest on our laurels.  The skills that helped us to achieve such great success in the past, aren’t enough to ensure that we’ll achieve great success in the future.  We have to sharpen our skills and develop new ones if we’re going to continue to succeed in the future.

The investment that we make in professional development also represents a strong commitment to our employees.  It’s an commitment that says SEI is not just interested in whatthey can do for us today, but that we’re committed to what we can do together in the future.

At Service Express we have a lot of fun and we get great results, and these are four areas that we focus on to ensure that we’re doing both.

Topics: Company Culture

About Ron Alvesteffer

Ron Alvesteffer is the President & CEO of Service Express, Inc. (SEI), a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. SEI has averaged double digit growth every year since 2001. SEI attributes its success to a unique corporate culture that they call The SEI Way. Ron is a member of the Young President Organization and sits on the Board of the Spectrum Health Foundation.

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