"Fun matters for employees, customers, and the bottom line."

Recently, Nick Gianoulis, Founder and Godfather of Fun, had the honor and unique experience of being interviewed by Ed Tyll, CEO of Starcom Radio Network, on his podcast titled The Ed Tyll show. You can play Nick’s interview below, and follow along with what you want to hear more about. Enjoy the fun!

Reason to initiate fun the workplace

Ed Tyll: (0:48) Should they get fun rewards when they make their sales quota and the Christmas party?… But – if we make it fun for them at work without achievement, what is the message being sent to them?…They’re not going to appreciate it’s a job! Home is for fun…Explain why it’s good to initiate this?

Nick Gianoulis: (1:48) “[Fun at work and play] breaks down all of those generational issues…The big difference is “What’s fun for you?” Most people think of traditional team building, it’s not what people want anymore. They want quick, easy, and organic. These things don’t interfere with work, it becomes part of your work culture. That’s where it is most effective.

Where fun fits in the workplace

Ed Tyll: (3:37) What do we have to know about the workplace in order to make the match to introduce fun to bring up productivity or have an environment that’s kind of reverent?…How do you know where it fits?

Nick Gianoulis: (4:06) “We help companies identify those forums – those places where fun can occur…Where are the opportunities? Could you take 5 minutes of that meeting and have a little fun? It will set the tone for more creativity. 

Idea of fun

Ed Tyll: (5:07) [When you wrote the book], did you have in your mind the vast diverse American workplace?

Nick Gianoulis: (5:43) Every workplace is unique and different. It’s not “this is our idea of fun, therefore this is going to be fun for you.” We start with a process of, “What is fun for you?” Leaders that buy-in, endorse, and support – that’s where we see all of the success. 

When is it a good time in the day to place fun?

Ed Tyll: (7:32) After we have a fun time, we’re not going to go back into work. When you come back the next day, you’re going to be loose and creative. Or, if we have this event, let’s make sure it’s at 4 in the afternoon.

Nick Gianoulis: (8:11) Timing can be important, and whatever makes sense for your company, we pay attention. It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes, it can even be 10/15 minutes. 

Challenges faced in the past

Ed Tyll: (9:08) Toughest challenge you’ve faced at first meeting with a firm?

Nick Gianoulis: (9:20) Lack of assessment work in finding out the details and failure not gathering enough information… we were invited to a front office delivery. Weeks after, we were then invited for a delivery in the warehouse. What we didn’t know, was that it was a Union negotiation day with management and those workers. We were trying to lighten the mood with fun, but there were more fundamental things to happen. 

How fun activities are created

Ed Tyll: (11:00) When you have that meeting with management in mind, do you then craft all of the activities? Or, do you urge or catalyze them to guide them so it comes from them? Who makes up the activities?

Nick Gianoulis: (11:23) We find out what things from the past make them better, but then we ask “What’s fun for you?” We can start co-creating activities with them. It’s not the force-family fun that people have been traumatized with…it’s not fun for most people. 

Box-Of-Fun introduction

Ed Tyll: (12:48) [Nick Gianoulis] is also developer of a new BOX OF FUN concept.

Nick Gianoulis: (12:53) Latest iteration of our company…here are some things that we’ve done in the past. A monthly subscription of 99$. Fun made easy, simple, and accessible. Once a month, you will see a greater level of creativity.

Where employee retention fits in

Ed Tyll: (13:55) This is probably one of the biggest benefits of all: employee retention is key. You have something at work that’s kind of human, where it hasn’t been that way for most of your career.

Nick Gianoulis: (14:31) One of the major callouts is for retention. Spending time and energy around the human-side of things and making the workplace more enjoyable is money well spent.

“Cool culture” and its importance

Ed Tyll: (15:35) The culture of the job, a cool culture, that’s a big deal. It is a major part for the [millennials].

Nick Gianoulis: (16:04) It’s the first generation to make a conscious choice to go to work for a company with cool culture, versus traditional pay and benefits. For the same or less amount of money, they’ll go to work for the cool company. It’s not just relevant to millennials, but everyone wants a sense of purpose, collaboration, flexibility, a little bit of fun. You don’t have to change your workplace for one generation, you do it for everybody and it works. 

Training and Development

Ed Tyll: (17:04) It’s awesome for training as well as good vibes. Have you been able to incorporate fun into training?

Nick Gianoulis: (17:21) There is real benefit in the How to?…We call them the “Whys guys”: people that have studied and researched fun. This drives business results, let’s incorporate this.