Your Employees Want More Than Booze
The work sponsored happy hour isn’t boosting morale.
I read an article last week about how the White House has started implementing happy hours for employees at the end of long work weeks. They’re also putting in a popcorn machine…
Because we all know nothing boosts morale like standing around on Friday in a toxic environment picking popcorn kernels out of your teeth in front of your coworkers.
The end of week work sponsored happy hour sounds like a good idea, but it’s not. If you have a toxic work environment, gathering disgruntled employees to stand around on a Friday afternoon drinking mildly cold Stella Artois with other disgruntled employees is not going to help.
Offering perks like this works wonderfully well if you already have happy employees that enjoy being at work. If this is the case, I raise my glass to you. It’s easy to keep people happy with liquor, not so much to get them there.
Let’s face it, as well intended as Mulvaney’s White House Happy Hour is, it’s never going to work. Ever. If there is any rumbling of the masses, getting them together for adult beverages is not going to help for number of reasons.
Your employees want to go home.
These people are giving you 40 hours of their time if not more. Giving them a perk that requires them to stay additional hours does nothing for them. They don’t want to stand around with people that they’ve already spent 40 hours with. They want to get home to their families, their significant others, their damn dog.
Even if happy hour happens during work time, they still want to go the fuck home! I can guarantee you that at least half the people sitting around at a happy hour during the work day would rather be having that beer somewhere else. Just let them.
The introverts are going be pissed.
An after work happy hour, even if it occurs during work hours, is an introvert’s nightmare.
Introverts would fake having a lung collapse to get out of such an “optional” event. You are basically forcing them to be social. There is no way they can win this game.
If they go, it’s uncomfortable and not the least bit fun. If they don’t, they’ll be seen as someone who’s not a team player. Require introverts to attend a work-related social function and you’re going to have a well populated corner of people all pretending no one else in the corner is actually there.
You’re only making a small demographic happy.
Your company is full of nothing but unmarried people without kids between the ages of 23 and 28? Great. Have at it.
But let’s think about the dad who has to stop on the way home from work and grab the kids. He can’t drink. But Jesus Christ, he really wants a beer. He needs a beer. He has a toddler than amplifies the need for beer.
Nothing is going to make the dad employee want to stab you in the eye like taunting him with beer he can’t have until he gets home.
And you’re keeping him from home. Well played, boss man.
So what can do you do instead?
Focus less on the beer. Focus more on creating an environment that makes team members want to socialize with you and with others. It means actually giving a shit. Know their spouse’s name. Know if they have kids. Ask about the dog in the picture on their desk.
Build morale by treating your employees like humans. Value them. Value their time. Value their work and ideas.
Give them strong leadership. Passionate leaders create passionate teams. Embrace servant leadership. be there to serve those that work for you just as much as they are serving your company.
Not all companies can sustain a social event like a happy hour. I’m looking at you, Mulvaney. If you have to ask yourself whether yours does or doesn’t, the answer is no. Setting up a post-work happy hour is going to be the equivalent of forcing teenagers into a group project. And we all know how much we loved that.