Five rings, every four years, three medals, two weeks, one city. The Olympics are underway in Rio de Janeiro, bringing nations together to celebrate the talent and athletic skills of their athletes.
Whether it’s the inspirational, tear-jerking commercials (just me?) or the pride felt when your home-country athletes step on the top podium, the Olympics remind us of workplace values such as dedication, teamwork and performing your best. Here are some parallels between the Olympics and the employee engagement in the workplace.
It Requires Preparation
In the same way athletes, coaches and host cities prepare for years prior to the Olympics, your employee engagement approach takes time, re-tooling and dedication. Increasing employee engagement is an ongoing effort that can never be marked as “complete” on your checklist. If you ask any Olympic athlete, practice makes perfect. Your strategy must be a continuously “practiced” for your organization to be fully engaged.
It’s a Team Effort
For each gold medal winner, there is a supporting cast and crew – the coaches, team members, trainers, dietitians – who are essential to success. Every athlete who wins a medal credits the hard work and effort of the people who helped them get there. Although day-to-day activities and roles differ, employees must work together to propel organizational success. As the 4×100 relay racers hand off the baton to their teammates, your team must be just as synced and in tune in order for your customers to have the best experience.
It Takes Dedication to Achieve a Goal
Athletes like Michael Phelps set clear goals and meticulously track progress toward them. Think about it: when swimmers finish a race, they immediately check the scoreboard to see their time. In the same way, employees need goals and a meaningful way to measure their progress against them. Achieving a business goal requires agility so, like athletes, employees can adjust as unforeseen circumstances arise.
It’s Time to Acknowledge Success
After you’ve put in the hours, gained support from your team and set your goals, it’s time to put everything in motion. Every Olympic athlete is going for the gold; however, it’s easy to forget that recognition of excellence does not always appear in medal form. This is similar to peer-to-peer, company-wide recognitions. It is important to credit success to those who helped make it happen.
Although we all may not flip over the vault quite like Simone Biles, we are all capable of setting and working toward goals, collaborating with a team and recognizing our peers’ efforts and achievements. The Olympics engage everyone involved by displaying the importance of teamwork, continually improving and dedication; your employee engagement strategy should be no different. So practice, practice, practice and go for the engagement gold.