Imagine a workplace where employees come in every day full of energy. They sparkle. They have an infectious, positive attitude. Imagine them being the go-to choice for your clients because they work with passion and clarity. Picture the most difficult of tasks handled with determination and team spirit. Think about high-school football.
Now imagine that this is your workplace.
This Utopia may seem like a far-fetched concept. It’s actually very easy to achieve. Companies across America are utilizing a creative morale program called the “Fish! Philosophy” to achieve this.
The “Fish! Philosophy” is a training solution established by filmmaker John Christensen following his visit to the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington. He noticed a particular way the workers had of doing their jobs, which differed from anything he’d ever seen.
Drawn by the cheering of crowds, he found himself watching as the workers threw fish to each other to create a show for their customers. He was amazed by how energetic and excited the workers were. This was the case despite the work being very difficult and the hours long (and smelly to boot). The men invited customers to become involved in the fish-throwing. They made sure to make each customer’s experience memorable and personal.
The team’s spirit and attitude struck a chord with John. He looked inward and asked himself what it was that made this experience famous.
What John noticed was that there were four core practices that workers at the fish market put into play. They did this day in, day out without fail. If he could apply these practices to every employee in every business, productivity could go through the roof.
What it comes down to is empowering employees to choose which attitudes they bring to work. Psychology has proven that the attitude of one affects the attitude of others. Simple domino effect stuff. What the “Fish! Philosophy” does is gives one employee the power to be the person that turns up the energy for all.Since the development of the “Fish! Philosophy” language in the late 90’s, many large organizations have implemented the program.
The Ranken-Jordan Pediatric Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri has four Fish! banners (one for each practice) hanging in its lobby. They do this as a symbol to its commitment to its patients, parents, and visitors. Ranken Jordan has seen an overall employee retention rate of 83% since implementing this program. This number was almost unheard of in the years prior.
The Sprint Wireless company in Lenexa, Kansas, uses the philosophy to make their jobs more fun. Employees select music for common areas, and the dress code has been relaxed. Managers have worked to “Be There” by asking employees for insight into how they could improve the business. Four-year productivity improved by 20%. First-year employee retention improved by 25%.
We all know that company culture has an impact on well-being, revenue and staff retention. Implementing programs that ensure that employee morale is high are critical to establishing a positive culture. Beyond establishing them, maintaining an ongoing set of values is equally critical. As employers, we have an obligation to our employees to provide a clear set of ongoing core values. These values must be positive in nature and foster leadership and encourage teamwork.
Creating an inclusive work environment is a great way to promote employee morale. The Fish! Philosophy has proven to be successful in this respect. One thing is certain; there’s proven success in creating a positive culture. Positive attitudes and behaviors in the workplace are the direct results of effective leadership and a positive management style.