Today’s changing workplace dynamics

By Doyle Sumrall, NTEA Managing Director

This article was published in the July 2016 edition of NTEA News.

During meetings with NTEA members, it’s easy to see many companies in the work truck industry are implementing positive changes. By and large, it seems people are having fun — not necessarily in terms of storytelling and jokes around the water cooler. Though there certainly may be a bit of humor involved, people seem to actually be enjoying their work and making the process fun — a great trend. 

As baby boomers approach retirement, millennials will start filling the gaps. This younger generation tends to view work differently. A recent Forbes article, “Fun, Fun, Fun — Millennials Want To Have Fun At Work” (, details this shift. The article references the experience of Karl Moore (renowned professor and leadership expert), stating, “When Karl was young, fun was not seen as relevant — he remembers being told, they call it work for a reason, it’s not supposed to be fun! However, the traditional values of respect and equality in the workplace are no longer enough; instead corporations are now turning to quirky and innovative values to round out their culture. Creating an environment where work isn’t just work, but a place where lifestyle and interests align is where the attention is starting to be placed.”

In today’s world, work- life balance has become a much higher priority. Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder and chairman, was cited, saying, “People ask me, ‘Why don’t you have some fun now?’ but they were missing the point. As far as I was concerned, this was fun. Fun is at the core of the way I like to do business, and it has been key to everything I’ve done from the outset.” Many NTEA members have adopted a similar mentality.

During a visit with the president of a Manufacturer member, I was impressed with the company’s method of communicating customer and supplier connections. The main office area featured wall art with large circles composed of segments forming three rings around a center circle. The center was designed to represent the core idea of connectivity with customers. If a customer was listed on a segment touching the center circle, all aspects of the relationship were in place. Likewise, if a customer was positioned on an outer ring, work was needed. This provides a great visual and a positive way to keep important actions at the forefront. The business took a similar approach with suppliers. In talking with the company’s president, I could tell open collaboration was a central theme.

Some organizations even add fun to their core value statements — an impressive precedent. The number of NTEA members making fun part of their environment is energizing.

Additional resources
Following are key reference items offering perspective on making work enjoyable.

For questions on workplace fun, contact Doyle Sumrall at