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Laughter: It's Serious Business

Recently, as we look to expand our team at Stroud Resourcing, I decided to update our company brochure with some of the changes we’ve made to the business since 2020. I asked my team for feedback on working here and for those who wanted to provide testimonials for our company brochure. One thing that consistently came up was our company culture, and the amount of good fun we have in the office.

Working in the recruitment industry can be tough. You deal with constant rejection, long hours, and some pretty stressful situations. One of the hardest aspects of our job is being met with hostility from candidates who have preconceived ideas about recruiters, views sadly established from their experiences with rogue recruiters.

Being exposed to this behaviour is one of the reasons why recruiters are highly rewarded, but a paycheque alone is not enough to mitigate the effects of stress or the impact on morale. That’s one of the reasons I’m incredibly proud of the culture my colleagues and I have built here: one in which we work hard and take pride in what we do, but also know how to have fun.

The Science of Silliness

Studies have shown that laughter has a range of benefits from improving circulation, to improving your mood, to boosting your immune system. The effects of a good laugh can lift our spirits immediately. So why, when we talk about wellbeing at work, is it so often overlooked?

As the events of the past 18 months have highlighted issues such as isolation, loneliness, and workplace burnout, many more companies are becoming aware of their responsibility to their employees’ wellbeing, and the trend towards taking positive steps to support people’s mental health is a great thing to see. But a lot of the proposals seem to focus on waiting for people to start struggling before providing support, rather than creating work environments with less stress and more joy.

In addition to more ‘traditional’ wellbeing programmes, at Stroud Resourcing we try to create a culture where we always have something to laugh about. Whether it’s seeing the funny side of a stressful situation, relaying tales of our weekend escapades, or giggling at the antics of our office dogs Dusty and Hugo, there’s always something to smile about in our office - barely a day goes by where my team and I don’t have a good chuckle about something.

Fostering Fun

Clearly, you can’t simply institute a ‘laughter policy’ – you can’t force these things – it’s more about creating an environment where a bit of silliness is a normal part of the day. Of course, we make sure nobody feels uncomfortable (we don’t laugh at other people’s expense), but I do believe it’s important never to take yourself too seriously.

A man laughs softly at a magazine titled 'sensible chuckle'This is an integral part of our company culture (just as much as our benefits package or personal leave options); it means that no matter how hectic things get, we can always rely on each other to bring some cheer. One of the advantages to this industry is there are no qualifications required to be a recruiter. With the right attitude, any astute individual can do it, and a good sense of humour is always something we look for when assessing cultural fit with a potential new team member.

Transparency and openness are a key part of building this kind of culture, too. My team tell me they feel like they can always come forward with any problems they have – and, similarly, they aren’t afraid to celebrate their successes. One of the things we do differently from many recruiters is that basic salary continually increases along with revenue attainment. We do this because I don’t want the team to be reliant on commission to live comfortably; and it means that commission is a nice bonus, rather than a cause of stress. We are also very transparent about salary, and nobody is discouraged from discussing their earnings. These factors contribute to a more relaxed and convivial atmosphere in our office, one where people feel comfortable and unreserved, no matter what each day brings.

Since returning to the office after lockdown, it’s been amazing to make laughter part of our day again. Although we’ve adapted to a lot of changes and instituted a hybrid model of working for our consultants, it’s made a world of difference knowing that each day will bring something to smile about. I’m grateful to have such a great team around me, one that shares my belief that levity in the workplace is crucial. Because when it comes to office life, laughter is serious business.