Employee morale: When da numbas r bad, da people respond!

I loved this example of the video of how employees choose to respond to tough challenges, and through creative expression, engage with the difficult subjects of economic downturn, rally the collective energy and focus on targets that have meaning for them. Make da numba: 39:  

Got no time for sleep, Got no time for slumba, We all got to be a part And make the numba. Make the numba, Do what you can do A part of it, too Help us make the numba. 39, six more zeroes That’s our numba 39, six more zeroes That’s our numba.

In our own company, my team is running our end-of-year review as an employee film festival. We have had some critique about this from the penny-pinchers seeing its tough times and we should not be spending any money on employee morale or “frivolous” activities while some people are losing their jobs due to the global economic crisis. 

I wonder how the nay-sayers measure the cost of employees who feel powerless, depressed and fearful? Our employees face all those same issues, and to boot, they are working harder than ever with teams dramatically reduced in numbers to deliver critically important IT releases for the business.  

AND STILL- they MADE the time to get together, write scripts, hire costumes and film a movie for the end-of-year film festival.  Before work and after work and in lunch hours, the Sydney Harbour foreshore was teeming with geeks dressed in Village People outfits and amateur camera crews.  Its proven to be a great stress-buster and the lesson we need to learn from all this, the creative and expressive urge is as strong as the urge for food.  It’s what keeps us sane and functioning and whole. 

Leaders and managers who don’t value or nurture this miss the whole point of employing human beings as opposed to machines, and will always have trouble motivating people.

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