Flannel Thursday

A Thread Into Employee Camaraderie

FEBRUARY 5, 2019

by Max Sundermeyer

Employee engagement is a term being thrown around a lot these days in the workplace. Especially during a favorable job market, employers are experiencing challenges attracting new talent and retaining current members of their team in all age levels and career stages.

In response, a heightened focus is being placed on engaging internal audiences of organizations. According to the Harvard Extension School of Professional Development, companies are shifting their employee engagement philosophy away from work perks to engaging employees through cultivation of junior leaders or welcoming employee mobility. These tactics are being proven success especially with millennial audiences.

Each organization has their own thoughts on the best way to make their employees happy in the workplace. In our opinion, engaging your employees doesn’t need to require a giant overhaul of company values, a purchase of a Ping-Pong table or an afternoon of Office Olympics.

Here at Linnihan Foy, we’ve adopted a subtle (and casual) method to bring people together, not take ourselves too seriously and look fashionable while doing so.

Introducing Flannel Thursday (no, not Friday – alliteration be damned). The concept is simple. On Thursdays, we wear flannel. No more – no less.

The idea was born years ago when a few members of our team decided to carve out a special day of the week to don the official fabric of Minnesota (if it’s not our official fabric yet, it really should be). Since then, a simple effort to make our wardrobe, and our crew, more casual has subtly sparked a sense of camaraderie within our team.

Plus, it’s one less decision we’ve got to make in the morning – come Thursdays, we already know what we’re wearing.

It may sound insignificant, but the idea of Flannel Thursday is rooted in employee engagement themes I find important. It all hinges on taking stock in the little things that matter to you and your office comrades.

  1. Employee engagement should start with…wait for it…the employees.
    A lot of employee engagement studies, trends or implementations fail to start at the source – the employees themselves. An organization can do everything in its power to install programs, supply happy hours or implemented giveaways, but employees themselves bear some responsibility in discovering what little quips can make their work life more enjoyable.
  2. Create regular moments.
    While larger-scale events a few times a year are nice, employee engagement should be a regular occurrence. The more frequent these little moments are, the more regular and consistent the positive vibes within employees.
  3. Find little things to make work less serious.
    We spend a large portion of our days in the office, often doing stressful deadline-driven work (don’t get us wrong, we dig it). In the midst of all of this, it’s important to find subtle things – like sporting Paul Bunyan’s wardrobe – to remind yourself you can have a good time at work.
  4. Keep it simple.
    It can be surprising how quickly employee engagement turns into work. The idea of “forced fun” or an obligation will quickly let out the air in any initiative you implement. Here at Linnihan Foy, getting people to wear flannel wasn’t too tall of a task.
  5. Discover your niche.
    Have an office of foodies? Maybe a weekly lunch is in order. Fans of craft beer? Happy hours at the local breweries are a good start. Find what you and your fellow employees like, and well, go do it.

When you work with people you enjoy, the work becomes that much better. As employees, we owe it to ourselves to discover small, simple ways we can further connect with our coworkers. Even the process of discovering what your office’s silly way of connecting is will bring people together. So reach out. See what your officemates are thinking. Maybe even rock a flannel this Thursday? You’ll be happy with what you discover.

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