I made a habit of saying “Happy Friday” to my coworkers for years. In fact, I’ve taken the opportunity to use Fridays to go around to each office and if even just for a moment say hello and happy Friday. In fact, it’s become such a habit that when I’m away from the office I have employees tell me they missed their “Happy Friday” that morning. So, Why Happy Friday? ‘Cause “Happy Monday” could get you punched!
In all seriousness, just why do I do this, go around to each office and say happy Friday to my coworkers? It’s been my experience that spirits are highest on a Friday. The week’s projects are being completed or just had been completed and employees are feeling a sense of accomplishment. Staff are more likely to have time away from the rigors of the highly, task oriented components of our jobs on Fridays allowing time to connect with coworkers. Being in a jovial spirit (at least one with less stress and demands) we are even more likely to talk about victories and challenges from the week or plans with family and friends for the weekend. Another underlying message of my visits with staff was as if to say, “Yes, while I am the HR Manager, I am human too. I’m there….there for employees who need an advocate and there for a manager who needs guidance or there for a group who needs coaching or training on a new policy or leadership competency”.
Yes! On Fridays we are more likely to talk about the stuff that makes us tick, what we’re passionate about and invested in. (Note to Managers- An important component of understanding how individual’s best perform is identifying what they value). We may even slow down enough to consider how our coworkers are doing, looking beyond our highly individualized laser-focus onto the next task at hand. What challenges might they be facing and could I help him or her with those challenges? (Note to Managers- providing an environment of collaboration, (permitting the space and time) and support of others is a team competency that enables synergy; accomplishing much more collectively than we would individually.) Evidence shows discussing non-work related topics with coworkers can also build lasting and trusting relationships and create an understanding of mutual interests, thus strengthening relationships. These lasting relationships have a tremendous impact on employee retention and engagement. Notice your energy starting to lift?
Why else Happy Friday? If I had the luxury of time to connect with each employee, each day, I would be ecstatic to do just that but, we know that is just not realistic. So, I chose a day when it’s best to connect, when our colleagues may be under the least amount of task related stress and not suffering from lack of sleep due to the common change in sleep patterns that occur over the weekend, like what is often experienced on Mondays.
Connecting with employees is a good thing right? Imagine my confusion when I learned of a very different perspective on my Happy Friday routine. A manager I worked with had great difficulty with my weekly, “Happy Friday” routine. In fact, she hated it! Why? Because according to her, the HR Manager should never engage in what she interpreted as “the HR Guy going around and proverbially saying, Shew! We got through this week!” (Yes, that’s how she saw what I was doing.)
She hated it so much so that I later learned she even started sending out Happy Monday messages to her staff (I can only assume from the safe distance of behind her keyboard and not in person).
I was so amused by this perspective I had to pause and consider that we just never know how our actions are judged. A concerted effort to set aside time to connect with colleagues above and beyond day to day interactions, had been interpreted in the way that it was done as a negative by this manager. I’m reminded her perspective is not my concern. The negative judgment of the Happy Friday routine is even none of my business, although I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me some that a well-intended action is misinterpreted by others… This obviously speaks to different approaches, styles and perspectives and I’m again reminded there are many ways to skin a cat. (It’s just a saying cat lovers J) But then, I think is there something useful I can derive from this perspective. Well… if the judgment of my actions encouraged a manager to reach out to her employees more so than she would have already, then maybe “it’s all good”!
Okay so, while it may be an extreme exaggeration to say one could be punched for extending a sing-song version of Happy Monday to coworkers, I have a general sense that saying Happy Monday could put me firmly in the position of upsetting my colleagues, as opposed to drawing them closer. I’ll just stick with my Happy Friday routine, thank you very much!
Best to you all and Happy Friday!
By: Ryan McShane, President, HR Evolution LLC, RyanM@marc3solutions.com
HR Evolution provides small to medium sized businesses Fortune 500 Level Resources, creating “High Performance Organizations” with Greater Profit, Top Talent, and Outstanding Culture.
Contact Ryan to get the results that, elevate individuals and organizations to their highest potential.