Why Every Business Needs a Captain Fun

‘You’re joking right?’ I’m sure was the first thing you thought when you read that title, but bear with me.

We don’t need to tell you that recruitment can be a mentally draining role and, sometimes, the long hours and persistence don’t pay off. That’s why recruiters are often well known for ‘letting their hair down’ and let’s be honest, this usually consists of going out and getting a drink…

Whilst this offers immediate relief, it can add to the wider build-up of stress in the role. I’m sure you’re probably well aware that BD on a hangover is a lot harder, but we do it to ourselves. Over and over again.

As an industry there’s a growing theme of encouraging a new era of working within recruitment. With the conversation of mental health, taking longer vacations or even sabbaticals at an all-time high. The need for a ‘Captain Fun’ in every business is huge.

So what’s a Captain Fun?

For us at Harnham, it’s a Director. A Director with a barrel full of ideas. Normally these consist of ways to make our lives a little bit lighter

Like a 20-minute break to have a plank off. Or a three-legged race round the roads near the office. Yes, these sound like trivial thing, but they really make a difference. They’re a morale booster on a bad day. But they’re also an added bonus on a good one.

At a lot of businesses, ‘entertainment’ will be in the hands of the Office Manager. If this is the case, you’d probably find very well organised team drinks on a Friday. Or great restaurants for the monthly incentive. But it doesn’t break the average day up.

If you want to take this idea forward for your own company, why not look at a group or a committee?

It should always operate outside of the typical work social scene.

You could see it as a new way of encouraging productivity or even a way to unwind without the headache the next day. Fun doesn’t necessarily look the same within different businesses, but what you should be working towards, or encouraging, is the ability to take a few minutes a week or a month to give everyone a reason to smile.

To inspire you as you embark upon your journey of finding a Captain Fun or Fun Committee within your business, here are a couple of starting ideas:

1.    Companywide Hen/Stag Do’s

These are a personal favourite of Harnham’s and the first event that gave us our current Captain. We suggest having a themed day with regular intervals for little competitions or events with the business split between two teams – the winners of which get an early finish or a little prize.

Just because of the title, these don’t have to happen every time someone gets married. Maybe have one a month? Maybe at the point everyone’s feeling the pressure a bit more than normal?

2.    Lucky Dips

This is quite a simple one.

Get everyone’s business card, pop them in a hat and have a range of prizes available.

From a £10 Nero voucher, a long lunch or an entire afternoon off. It shouldn’t be a metric people need to hit to win, just a simple gift that will put a smile on the winner’s face.

3.    Wild-card

Have you got a couple of faces in the office that are working hard but potentially aren’t quite there yet?

Figures on the sales board don’t always show the effort someone’s putting in. Recognising hard work with a ‘wild-card entry’ to join some of the celebrations will show the effort of individuals is noticed. 

4.    Office dogs

Research shows that offices dogs can offer a huge boost to businesses and help you to work better.

Now OK, this is a more difficult one to just put in place, but I’d be willing to bet one of the employees of your business has a dog. Why leave them at home?

Above any productivity reason, dogs just make people happy. Captain Fun could give someone a ‘dog time out’ for a morale boost. We’ve not quite managed to get this one sorted in the UK, but our US colleagues can vouch for this being a winner.

5.    Pranks

A colleague is on holiday, what better way to give everyone still in the office a boost than give them a little reminder that you’ve been managing all their work for them when they get back? Here’s a sneaky Ed Hunter article with some great suggestions.


Charlie Waterman manages the Internal Recruitment for Harnham, a global specialist in Data & Analytics Recruitment. Since joining as a graduate, she has developed her career throughout Harnham’s sales function before taking the opportunity to build the Harnham brand globally and is currently responsible for bringing in exceptional talent to the business.