How to create a harmonious workforce

Picture this – your employees singing together in harmony to boost morale. Really? Yes indeed, companies are already turning to music and realising the benefits.

If you’re looking for new ways to promote wellbeing and positively impact your workforce, read on to discover who’s doing it and the difference it makes.

The Workplace ChoirI love this idea and am excited to introduce you to Rosanne Sayers. She’s the co-founder of The Workplace Choir and is here to tell us all about it. Over to you Rosanne…

How to create a harmonious workforce

Singing makes you feel great, there’s no doubt about it. I know, not all that revolutionary, right?!

However, when I went on a mission to find ways to de-stress, it dawned on me that potentially one of the most fun and effective ways to engage a workforce was still, seemingly, undiscovered.

That’s why, three years ago, I co-founded The Workplace Choir with musical master Andy Guthrie – and the results have been, well, sing-sational!

Our idea for the business – which sets up choirs in the workplace to help bond people together, reduce stress and get people working in harmony – came from our own experiences of being in choirs.

With no singing background, I joined a choir hoping that it would help to relieve the pressures of work.

I quickly realised what a positive effect singing had on me, both physically and mentally. I felt lifted, positive and enthusiastic for days afterwards.

The stresses of everyday work and life disappeared.

Final rehearsals When my choir leader, Andy – who is a Mercury-nominated producer with over 20 years’ professional experience – said he would love to make the benefits of singing available to more people, we saw an exciting opportunity.

That was the start of The Workplace Choir. An idea born out of a desire to spread our enjoyment of singing while at the same time improving employees’ wellbeing. We have not looked back since.

We already have a diverse range of clients (from holiday company TUI Group – the parent company of Thomson – and the trade union Unison, to RSM Accountants and the London Taxi Company).

They tell us that after trying numerous engagement strategies in the past, singing ranks as by far the most fun and impactful they’ve seen.

Employees who take part report feeling more confident, happy and full of energy afterwards. They say they are left “buzzing” and immensely proud of their achievements.

What are the results?

Choir2We have also seen a measurable improvement in levels of communication, job satisfaction and feelings of loyalty to a company.

In fact, the results have been so impressive that all of our clients have signed up to do the course again, and many are expanding to include different offices from their networks.

The positive feedback we have received reflects the findings of a recent study by Oxford University  which shows singing to be the fastest way to bond people together.

With a choir, everyone is on a level playing field with a receptionist perhaps standing next to the CEO of a company – what better way to break down barriers!

With Gareth Malone’s popular BBC2 show ‘The Choir: Sing While You Work’ transforming the perception of singing in a choir, we have found that people are keen to try something new and give singing a go.

We always choose songs that strike a chord with the company.

For example, Unison sang ‘Something Inside So Strong’ by Labi Siffre and ‘I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends’ by The Beatles.

TUI UK&I sang ‘When You’re Smiling the Whole World Smiles With You’ by Louis Armstrong, because their logo is a smile and their ethos is about making staff and customers smile. (Love that! – Rachel).

You can watch TUI UK&I in action via this video:

How it works

AndyGuthrieAndy (pictured) has an incredible ability to build a rapport among any group of people. He arranges songs into three or four-part harmonies.

This means singers have to listen to each other, concentrate, and work together. Focusing on your individual singing part takes you away from the stress of work and you naturally connect with people.

You will also be surprised at what you are capable of.

We do 12, one-hour rehearsals normally at lunchtime but they can also be before or after work. The course culminates in an exciting performance to colleagues, a flash mob or video. It often ties in with a company event, like a sales day, General Meeting, or national get together.

See what Warwickshire Probabtion Service said about their experience with The Workplace Choir Company:

Warwickshire Probabtion Service from The Workplace Choir Company on Vimeo.

Measuring the benefits

Finally, we debrief with relevant internal stakeholders, measure the benefits achieved and then discuss how to build on them.

Being unhappy at work has been proven to have a huge negative impact on a business – it causes a loss of productivity, absenteeism and high staff turnover.

There is a certain irony that as the world becomes increasingly ‘connected’, there has been a loss of real connection in many workplaces. People hot desk, work from different offices or home, and often employees sit at a desk all day and don’t engage with their colleagues.

With recent reports putting workplace sickness and long-term absenteeism at £100 billion a year in the UK, it’s an expensive impact too.

The opposite is also true; when staff want to be at work and feel happy and rewarded, the business will feel the financial benefit. So if you want a happy and harmonious workforce, a choir could hit the right note!

Post author: Rosanne Sayers.

Thank you Rosanne. What do you think? Could this work for you? Are you doing something similar? I’d love to know your thoughts.

You can comment below or find me on Twitter @AllthingsIC. Found this article useful? Why not share it on.

To get in touch with The Workplace Choir, see their website, find them on Twitter @singatwork or Facebook.

Further reading about employee engagement: see all the articles tagged employee engagement on my blog.


30 April update: Singing to raise smiles

TUI’s workplace choir has released a single – a cover of Louis Armstrong’s 1929 hit When You’re Smiling’ (The Whole World Smiles With You), with all proceeds going to TUI’s long-standing charity partner, the Family Holiday Association.

The money raised will help to provide much-needed seaside breaks for UK families struggling with some of life’s toughest challenges, such as disabilities, mental health issues, bereavement or domestic violence.

Head of engagement at TUI, Lydia Hatley, says: “The choir has been the most amazing success. The time rehearsing, performing and recording the single has really bonded a group of colleagues who may never have encountered one another in their daily jobs; they’ve not only made friends but connections we’re benefitting from as a business too.

“We have a strong heritage of community and charity support and the single seemed a logical thing to do. It really does make you smile and will help families smile through the work of the Family Holiday Association.”

Update: Thank you to everyone who has got in touch to share their stories, you can view some of the Tweets below:

First published on the All Things IC blog 29 March 2016.

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