You know what they say, if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. That is, unless you’re a chief operating officer. It's no surprise that running the day to day of a company is a tall order of responsibility, even if it’s something you love. As COO, hard work is a must, But, the best COOs find a way to enjoy their position of power and add some entertainment to their daily routine, not only to keep themselves sane, but to keep the employees happy as well.
So, how are you supposed to have fun as a Chief Operating Officer?
In today’s blog, we’re discussing the all the ways you can enjoy your role as the COO.
CAN OPERATIONS BE FUN?
When it comes down to it, heading up operations isn’t easy. It’s detail-heavy, stressful – not to mention time consuming. On the plus side, you’re in charge. As the CEO’s “hands and feet” it’s your responsibility to guide and steer the company in the right direction and develop systems and protocols the will be efficient and cost effective.
But productivity and efficiency aren't the only factor a COO needs to take into consideration. The COO is also responsible for hiring, onboarding, training and morale. It’s no secret that a happy team is a motivated team, and sometimes the best way to keep employees happy is to make the workplace an enjoyable space.
THE ONBOARDING PROCESS
A great way to have some fun as COO is by making the onboarding process fun and easy for new hires. New employees that are welcomed by the rest of the team and made to feel at home are more likely to work harder and be more productive than those left to their own devices.
It all starts at the interview. Often times, this is the first face-to-face interaction a new employee will have with your company. While of course you’re trying to gauge their suitability for the role, you have the opportunity to set the tone for the rest of their experience with you. It might be as simple as using casual language or cracking a joke during the interview, but making potential new hires feel comfortable in this stage pays off.
It can be difficult to get a real feel for someone’s personality in an interview, especially if they’re nervous. When you get them to relax with a little banter, often times their true colors come out. It’s a lot easier than finding out your new employee has a racist streak six months down the track.
But just suppose your new hire is a model employee, how can we make their on-boarding fun?
New employees should be celebrated and processes installed to welcome them to the team. Give them the red-carpet experience and make sure they’re supported right though training and beyond. This includes providing them with a cheat-sheet of support contacts, a list of company perks and benefits as well as any cool business-branded merchandise. (People love free stuff and they’ll happily advertise for you if it costs nothing!)
A fun and involved onboarding process is a great way to both train employees in company culture and production techniques, but also to get them invested in your company in the early stages of their employment. Show value from the start, and employees will give it their all.
TURN COMPANY TO COMMUNITY
A common misconception in business is that socialization leads to distraction. In fact, quite the opposite has been discovered over the years. Truthfully, a light hearted and social work place is known to increase morale, employee retention and productivity.
But don’t break out the ball pits and slippery-slide just yet. Maybe start with a regular employee dinner or drinks, this will give all the employees a chance to get to know each other on a more personal level. It also allows your employees to blow off steam or resolve inter-office conflicts, which is good for everyone.
INCENTIVE BASED COMPETITIONS
As humans, it’s in our nature to compete to see who’s the fastest, the strongest and most efficient. So, as a COO, why not use this natural thirst for first place to your advantage by offering “bug-bounties”.
A bug bounty is a reward given to someone who can find a broken process, inefficient workflow or price savings.
Your employees know your business almost as well as you do, but their focus is way more granular and they can often spot ways to improve the business. Especially when there’s a prize involved. They can be lucrative too, in 2019, Deloitte paid one of their finance team members a 6-figure bonus for discovering a way to streamline their vendor payments, saving the company millions every quarter.
It's the treasure hunt where everyone wins.
PLANNING CORPORATE EVENTS AND RETREATS
As the executive who runs all the internal affairs of the company, it’s on the COO to plan and execute corporate events, seminars, conferences and retreats.
Business doesn’t have to be boring and investing in the entertainment side of corporate events will make your employees excited to participate. Google’s annual Christmas party is the stuff of legends, with many people citing it as a reason for trying to work with the tech giant.
As a COO, it’s important to think outside the box and to get creative, make the events and retreats focused on team building, up-skilling – as well as having a great time.
This is a tough one. Telling someone to be likeable is like telling someone who’s anxious to just relax. It’s not that easy.
But as a COO there’s a certain charisma and personality that’s required for the role, and its safe to say you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have a little charm to begin with.
While some situations call for a furrowed brow, there’s benefits in being approachable, polite and even complimentary. Sure, you need to be a hard taskmaster at times, but when your employees begin hiding from you in the bathroom when you visit the department, you know you have a likeability problem. Work is work, but don’t be afraid to share a joke or a personal anecdote to relate to your staff.
Take the time to build a sound work relationship with all the people that are underneath you, make sure that they are aware of proper communication channels and that you have an open-door policy. Encourage synergy, collaboration and free thinking, as you never know who will come up with a solution to a problem that you haven't solved yet.
CELEBRATE YOUR PEOPLE
Once an employee is onboarded and trained up, its important not to lose them into the system. Recognition, reward and a celebration of a staff member’s personal life milestones is a great way to keep your staff engaged and enjoy themselves at the same time.
Make sure achievements are recognized and your staff are publicly rewarded for their efforts.
Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, marriages and the birth of children. But don’t just print a generic card or buy a cheap birthday cake, try and ensure that all celebrations are personalized, creative and most importantly, fun.
It comes as no surprise that fostering a fun, collaborative and educational work environment has its benefits. Employees have been proven to be more productive, loyal and efficient when working in environments that they enjoy.
If you’re looking for a Director of Operations or expert consultant to help you determine your next move, the right advice is priceless. As business consultants and COOs, we work with entrepreneurs every day to set them up for success by identifying where their business is suffering. We help them pinpoint which processes to re-evaluate and adjust to grow their business. And best yet… We offer hassle-free, no obligation 30-minute discovery calls with our founder to see how we could help you. Just email us today.
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