Attention on ‘mandatory’, or ‘forced’ fun has spiked after the case of ‘Monsieur T.’, a French man who sued his company for wrongful termination in 2015.
Among the reasons for letting him go was the crime of not taking part in Friday drinks, or apéros. Recently the French High Court ruled that Monsieur T. had no obligation to attend these gatherings, and the expectation on him to do so violated his freedom of expression.
We asked our community - Do you think 'mandatory fun' at work improves engagement? - to which over half (57%) replied no.
Forced fun at work (yes, that means pizza parties, drinks, and team activities) can be a really tricky one. Companies want to gather people together to boost morale and help create cohesive, trusting teams. Realistically though, there are many reasons why socialising with your colleagues might be totally unappealing to many. On the whole, it seems like the main issue is that fun usually happens naturally, and isn’t something that can be mandated.
There is no simple solution, but a few things come to mind:
Make sure your basic package and benefits are appealing enough - if people are unhappy with these things - the extras feel a bit insulting!
Allow for anonymous feedback on any social work events.
Empower employees to get involved in the organising of events.
Don’t forget the power of putting money where your mouth is - sometimes a voucher just appeals more!
This article is included in this week's People Experience newsletter.
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