What is the Joy Box and Why did I start it?
Back in 2020 when Covid first hit, working in the healthcare field, everything was changing very fast, almost by the minute. The CDC kept changing their recommendations, healthcare services were being delayed, school and childcare because nonexistent, we had to furlough staff, and everyone was nervous about the future. My employees were really having a hard time, we were short staffed, patients were scared and not kind, rules were changing by the minute.
I was trying to find a way to engage with my employees, I decided to start a JOY email, and really it was to show people that even in hard, uncertain, times we can find JOY in the ordinary. Every Wednesday I would write an email/newsletter to my staff and started calling it JOY Wednesday. I shared things that I was doing with the kids while the world was shut down, recipes, books I had read, games we found to play etc. It became a great way to connect with my staff because some were at home, while others were in the office. They enjoyed it so much that we still have JOY Wednesdays every Wednesday and I share things about my family, movies we watch, food suggestions, places we go… really anything that brings me JOY! With 400 plus staff it is a great way to connect with them.
At the same time, I was trying to figure out a way to give my leaders some form of professional development as a team, to move not only themselves forward as leaders but our department forward with the culture we wanted to build. I am a firm believer that everyone should always be growing and that books are a great way to do that. So, I started assigning a book a quarter to my leadership team and we would get together once a quarter and discuss the book and what we could implement within our department and what leadership skills or values they took from the book.
I soon realized that the supervisors and even the staff kept asking “to grow” and when I would ask them “What do you mean grow? What areas do you want to grow in?” and most of the time they wanted their paycheck to grow and their title to change but had no real concept of “growth.”
This got me thinking that if this is happening in my department/company I am sure there are a lot of people who want to grow but don’t really know what that means.
This is when I realized there are a lot of books out there on a lot of subjects, it can be overwhelming, so what if I could take the decision fatigue out of it and send people a book to help them grow? That is how the JOY BOX came about.
For a lot of people their work life had changed they were now at home working, and I heard from friends and family that their companies were sending them “gifts” to engage them, things like water bottles, snacks, notebooks, company logo items. Though very thoughtful, most of the items were things that ended up in the trash or donated. What if you sent your employees “gifts” that help them grow? And that was the staple for the Joy Box.