HR Strange But True

This Job Is a Joke!

Can you take a joke? Then chances are you’ll go far at your company! A new survey, released by Accountemps®, reveals that having a sense of humor is an important characteristic to have for fitting into most companies’ culture.

laughing workers

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According to the survey, 78 percent of CFOs interviewed said an employee’s sense of humor is at least somewhat important for fitting into the company’s corporate culture, with 22 percent stating humor is very important.

“A sense of humor can boost moods and improve connections among colleagues,” said Mike Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps—in a press release of the findings. “Creating a positive and friendly work environment can lead to higher levels of employee engagement and productivity.”

Steinitz added, “Not all business matters are funny, but a little levity can go a long way, particularly when it comes to defusing tension or recovering from a minor mishap. There’s nothing like a joke to put people at ease.”

Accountemps offers five rules for using humor in the workplace:

  1. Show your personality. When used appropriately, humor can help build rapport with colleagues. Interviewing for a new job? Consider weaving in some wit to build chemistry with the hiring manager and show that you are approachable—a trait of a good leader. As an added bonus, it can help alleviate nervous jitters.
  2. Consider the circumstances. Comedians know timing is everything. While a chuckle or two can help defuse stressful situations, cracking one-liners during a serious meeting is an unwelcome distraction.
  3. Use the right medium. Be cautious when using humor in an e-mail or instant message—it might fall flat or be misinterpreted because the recipient cannot see your facial expressions or hear the tone of your voice.
  4. Laugh with them—not at them. Never use humor at the expense of others, and be mindful about sarcastic or demeaning comments that can be off-putting or offensive. Poking fun at yourself is safer; it shows that you are self-aware and don’t take yourself too seriously.
  5. Keep it G-rated. Steer clear of inappropriate or negative remarks that could make someone feel uncomfortable. If you’re unsure of how your joke may be received, keep it to yourself.