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7 December 2020

Tis the season to be jolly but only 5% of bosses welcome laughter

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Tis the season to be jolly but only 5% of bosses welcome laughter

Pandemic pressures take their toll as just 8% of workers currently think laughter is the sign of a healthy organisational culture

New research shows festive fun in the workplace is under threat this year as only 5% of bosses and 8% of employees believe laughter is the sign of a healthy organisational culture.

Conducted among 150 employers and 500 employees at medium-to-large UK businesses, the research by MHR International, the payroll, HR and analytics expert, examines the gap between employers and employees on what generates loyalty in a workforce and makes an organisation more resilient. It shows working in isolation from colleagues and the additional stresses generated by the pandemic are dampening the Christmas spirit for many organisations.

Instead of company cheer, both sides think a good organisational culture comes from fairness and transparency about pay and rewards (selected by 53% of employees and 49% of employers), or a clear and open style of management (selected by 46% of employees and 50% of employers).

“Being serious about employee culture is critical now and for achievement of goals into 2021. A workforce that laughs together is more mentally resilient in the face of current challenges when everyone is working remotely. But it will also be more productive in the longer term,” said Andy Davies, Product Design Director, MHR International. “Now more than ever, we need people to feel more connected by encouraging informal behaviour, as well as work and targets. In the absence of Christmas parties this year, employers must also think more creatively about how to reinject festive fun into their workplace culture, whether it’s an inexpensive virtual event or something simple like a care package in the post.”

Mental health charity, Mind, recently reported (PDF download) that mental health had deteriorated during lockdown for 60% of adults. Employers that don’t value a fun culture may be putting health and wellbeing of employees at longer-term risk as academic studies have shown laughter has a highly therapeutic effect, reducing stress, boosting immunity and strengthening workplace bonds. A sense of connection between employers, managers and among colleagues is essential to employee wellbeing and business resilience especially with the sheer volume of workers now operating remotely.

The research, conducted for the new MHR Employee Loyalty Index, found that employers are overwhelmingly keen to use technology such as task collaboration or digital HR platforms to improve employee loyalty. Almost nine-in-ten employers (89%) believe investing in technology will have a positive effect on employee loyalty, with nearly a third (31%) believing it will be an important contributor to their employee culture.

“Regular one-to-one check-ins and informal chats to discuss morale, performance and overall wellbeing are critical in the current climate,” added Davies. “But employers need a platform that connects everyone informally as well formally and is a forum for communication and sharing, as well as a tool to boost collaboration and personal performance.”

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