You Can't Cancel Laughter: Understanding How Stifling Workplace Humor Can Also Stifle Creativity and Retention | Sessions
In a hilarious, yet at times controversial presentation, renowned business humorist and award-winning Chicago Tribune humor columnist Greg Schwem challenges his audience to realize that eliminating, or curtailing humor in the workplace environment also stifles creativity and teamwork. For those who say, "we aren't a funny company" or "this isn't a good time for us to be laughing," Greg disagrees. Using real world examples, Greg explores how companies have increased sales and overcome negative publicity through humor. What one generation finds "offensive" or "inappropriate" might be deemed perfectly acceptable to another generation. To further his point, he will ask SHRM attendees to submit brief videos stating who is their favorite comedian/comedienne and why? Then Greg will show clips of those comedians in an effort to gauge the audience's reaction. He will also recount true stories of clients who requested humor presentations and yet requested so many stipulations on what NOT to say that it became almost impossible to deliver a presentation at all, much less one containing comedy
Greg offers suggestions for how to navigate this slippery slope while laughing the entire time. He also shows how humor helped lift this country's emotions during the COVID-19 crisis while helping businesses cope with the worst possible scenarios. Don't believe that's possible? Then you haven't heard of the suburban Chicago restaurant that offered a free roll of toilet paper with every takeout order!
- There is no correct answer to the question, "What is offensive?"
- In a work environment, there shouldn't be any person or group tasked with answering that question
- The positive benefits of including humor in the workplace far outweigh the negative ramifications
- A joke, meme, video that one employee posts and another finds offensive should not necessarily result in punishment of the "poster" by HR.
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