Game for a laugh? The importance of Humour in motivating and retaining great staff

Game for a laugh? The importance of Humour in motivating and retaining great staff


As well as working full time at SwipeStation, I am regularly invited to moonlight as a freelance Event/Area Manager in the hospitality industry. I like to stay in tune with the challenges our clients face, I genuinely enjoy the work… and the extra income is always welcome! In the last twelve months I’ve covered the Cheltenham Festival, Royal Ascot, British Grand Prix and London Stadium.

Over the course of a year, many staff briefings are received and given, many new teams are formed and many high pressure days are worked. Teamwork doesn’t just make the dream work; it's the only way to get through the day! The challenge is: how do we get young people engaged and enthused about working long days with little pay, little sleep and often thankless customers?

I have always felt that humour plays a key role in this. I believe in getting to know people and trying to make them smile. A happy, relaxed worker is a much more productive worker, and if you can make someone smile you are showing a level of humanity and likeability that will draw them to you. In turn, this signals to the person that they can come to you with problems or issues and, as we all know, the more we understand the people we work with - what drives and motivates them - the better the working relationship will be.

My top trip tip

Whenever I see a manager giving a briefing I will walk behind them and pretend to trip over.

The reaction is the same every time: the new faces laugh and relax, while the old faces tut and roll their eyes. They know it’s a silly dad joke that I've done time and time again - but to me it’s saying that while the information being given is important and that what we do is serious (hopefully the manager is getting this across!) there is always time to smile… and that if we’re not having a good time then the customer won’t either.

These days when you’re working with young people I don’t think it’s possible to be too friendly or approachable. The times of managers being stern and trying to rule with fear are long gone. My best managers have been people I can talk to or share ideas with, who will empower me to try new things with no fear of failure.

This level of confidence and equality is only possible if we're able to laugh together.

If you would like to hear more about SwipeStation (or just tell me I’m wrong!) please book an appointment here.