HR Management & Compliance

Safe Laughs for the Workplace

Many topics are no laughing matter at the workplace — including jokes based on gender or racial stereotypes. But corporate humorist David Granirer says there’s still plenty to joke about.

Humor at work can lead to both healthier employees and a healthier bottom line. But there are some forms of humor that won’t be very funny if they lead to discrimination or harassment lawsuits.

No More Put-Downs

No question, reiterates Granirer, that the reality has changed. What used to be OK as humor isn’t any more. No more getting a laugh by putting someone down. The new reality forces us to be more clever, creative, and especially considerate in the way we use humor, says Granirer.

So what’s left to joke about? Here are Granirer’s suggestions:

#1. Yourself, your flaws, neuroses, and inadequacies. When you make these jokes, people are brought closer to you because they can relate. And, so far, no one’s ever been sued for joking about himself or herself.


Change is good, right? It is if you’re prepared for it — webinar 8/31


#2: Personal characteristics in areas of low ego-involvement. Though most people are extremely sensitive about appearance, they’re less invested in other aspects of their personalities, says Granirer. For example, many don’t mind if someone jokes about their bad handwriting, or that they look tired after getting up at 2 a.m. to change a diaper.

Likewise, poking fun at Peter because he’d rather ski than work, or Mary because she has a distinctive laugh, is relatively safe, and communicates affection rather than disdain.

#3: Situations you all face. For example, the upcoming merger, the new reorganization, or the difficult customers you deal with.

It may be legally safe to joke about the upcoming merger, but if you’re right in the middle of one — or preparing to be – it may not seem very funny at the moment.

You probably already know that HR needs to be on top of a number of key legal, financial, and logistical details. The difference between successful integration and lingering (potentially costly) cultural incompatibility largely rests on your shoulders.

But the actual process of getting all your ducks in a row can be daunting, particularly when you’re dealing with a brand-new subsidiary or parent company that does things very differently from what you’re used to.

Get your head around all of the crucial details — and get a plan in place for managing major changes with confidence — at our timely webinar on August 31.

Attend Change Management: HR’s Keys to Success During Mergers, Acquisitions & Other Organizational Transitions, and learn:

  • The key factors that drive HR’s success during significant organizational change
  • The critical role you can expect to play with respect to due diligence prior to a merger or acquisition
  • Strategies for getting internal stakeholders on board with the pending change, so you can bring about positive results
  • Best practices for communicating effectively across all levels of your organization — before, during, and after changes take effect
  • How to successfully integrate and join forces following the merger (you’ll hear our expert’s real-life tales of post-merger success and failure, and the actions that made the crucial difference)
  • How to apply the principles involved with mergers and acquisitions to other types of change within your organization

Join us! Can’t make it on the 31st? Order the CD and learn at your leisure.

Download your free copy of Employee Orientation: How To Energize, Integrate, and Retain Your Newest Hires today!