A few years ago Ernst & Young, the big 4 accountancy firm I used to work for, launched a corporate choir in London. It went down a storm as I remember, with employees signing up in droves to sing together in sweet harmony. Their occasional performances were also extremely popular with fellow employees – a real head office spectacle that entertained and lifted the spirit in equal measure…
Now I read (Human Resources, April 2009) that call centre staff at Admiral, the British insurer, are receiving singing lessons from two opera divas in a bid to boost morale and, wait for it… to reduce absenteeism.
The musical pair, Georgina Jones and Andrea Beardshaw, have been ‘making sweet music’ with a 40-strong call centre team based in Cardiff. Like EY, they have formed a staff choir which will perform in front of thousands of colleagues at various internal meetings this year.
And there’s a health benefit too, with staff being taught how to use their voices to combat sore throats, manage infections and so on – all rather helpful for pressured call centre people. Apparently this initiative has been a big hit too, with the Admiral top team singing its praises from the rafters.
In a similar vein I was talking to a contact of mine who works in central Government recently and he told me that his department has been running stand-up comedy sessions internally. Nice.
Could these be the tactics we need to lift employee spirits during the deep, dark recession?