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Employee Engagement and Corporate Culture: It All Starts with a Sense of Humor

Employee Engagement and Corporate Culture

These are two buzzwords that have been trending over the past few years. But there’s a reason they’re trending – these circumstances can make or break an organization!

I’ve worked with a lot of executives and high performers who have been passionate about improving employee engagement and their corporate culture, and it’s incredible that leaders are recognizing the impact these two factors have on today’s workplace.

But let’s back up for a moment. Why are employee engagement and corporate culture so important?

New Workforce

A recent study reports that 35% of working Americans are aged 21 to 36 (Pew Research and MarketWatch). That’s a huge percentage. The workforce is getting younger, and in addition to this, people are moving in and out of organizations with increasing speed. Your organization needs to put effort into attracting and retaining this large new talent pool.

A “firings will continue until morale improves” culture won’t cut it, especially in today’s corporate world. There are plenty of online tools (like Glassdoor) available to give candidates a sense of your corporate culture before they even walk in the door—not just after they are hired.

Humor Your Hires

If you want to get the best candidate in the door, and keep them there, you need to have an attractive corporate culture. People (especially leaders) and organizations that use humor in a fun and engaging way are at an advantage in this instance. A corporate culture that appreciates the value of a good laugh sees much more success, both in the short-term and long-term, than those that are more rigid.

If you can engage your workforce with appropriate humor, you’ll see amazing results from your employees and your bottom line, and what organization doesn’t want that!?

When you’re using strategic humor, you’ll see:

  • Improved communication
  • Better teamwork
  • Happy employee + happier customer = higher bottom line
  • Healthier employees (stress is often the culprit of injury and illness, after all!)


I’ve gotten some pushback from leaders in the past. It usually goes a little something like this: “If we allow humor in the office, nothing will get done!” 

That’s simply not true! Correctly-implemented humor in your corporate culture lends itself to higher employee engagement. 


Here’s the Secret

If you set high expectations but don't allow humor, people will feel a sense of drudgery, which can negatively affect productivity. If you set a humorous tone that isn’t tempered with high expectations, a scene similar to Animal House may ensue. A good leader is going to set high expectations AND a humorous tone! You need both in order for people to:

  1. Enjoy their work
  2. Respect one another
  3. Increase productivity
  4. Have fun

Corporate culture sets the tone for employee engagement, and when it’s done right, it’s a recipe for success!

Connect with me!

YouTube: Karyn Buxman
Twitter: @KarynBuxman
Facebook: Karyn Buxman Speaks
LinkedIn: Karyn Buxman

Karyn Buxman is a TEDx speaker, author, and neurohumorist (one who researches the neurobiology of humor) who lives at the intersection of humor and the brain. A pioneer in the emerging science of applied humor, Karyn helps high performers expand their influence, strengthen their relationships, and boost their resilience. She’s one of only 43 women in the world to be inducted into the National Speakers Association's Speaker Hall of Fame, and she has inspired over 500 organizations – including NASA and the Million Dollar Round Table– to add a dose of levity to their daily lives.

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