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Use Wimbledon to capitalise on employee engagement

Posted by
18 Jul 2017
As Wimbledon draws to a close for another year, I wanted to reflect on how businesses can maximise on sporting events like it to improve employee engagement. Every year the Wimbledon Championships mean a number of things; a massive upturn in the consumption of strawberries, cream and champagne, the majority of Britain going tennis mad for a fortnight, and an increase in unauthorised leave and unproductivity.

Across the UK, people wish they were sat on Henman Hill – or better yet, cheering from centre court – but instead most of us have to be at work. Whilst we all love to get caught up in the sporting festivities, business owners up and down the country will all face a similar struggle to maintain employee engagement and ensure high levels of productivity. Most employees will be happy enough to ignore the minor games at the beginning of the first week. However, the key matches featuring high profile players such as Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Venus Williams, usually take place in the middle of the working day and are likely to distract workers and impact productivity, as employees try to follow the game on their phones or computers. Key games might even lead to a spike in unplanned absences, with the biggest fans taking time off work to see big games.

At a time when the UK economy is trying to reduce its reputation for low productivity, it is crucial that small businesses have plans in place to pre-empt and counteract these potential absence issues. Below are three top tips for small business owners to think about in preparation for key sporting events such as Wimbledon.

Be proactive about flexible working

Flexible working policies are a great way to allow employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance throughout the year, but I believe businesses can go further. If you identify the main dates of key sporting events, especially for the bigger occasions like Wimbledon, businesses can liaise with employees in advance to ensure those die hard tennis fans don’t miss a match, and productivity does not wain. This is not a one size fits all approach though and relies on effective communication with the workforce to ensure they continue to be proactive. There also needs to be a fair system is in place for all employees wishing to take advantage of flexible hours. There are a number of ways this approach can be implemented, from starting early to allow for early finishes, through to extending lunch breaks to watch the game, asking employees to make up time before or at the end of the working day. 

Ensure you have a fair annual leave policy

For those employees that are particularly tennis mad or are lucky enough to be able to attend themselves, it is important for employees to feel, as long as their colleagues are in agreement, they are able to negotiate leave at late notice. Again, this works both ways – employees must commit to pre planning and providing as much advanced warning as possible when they want to take annual leave. In return businesses must ensure there is a fair annual leave policy in place that is the same for everyone, regardless of seniority within the business. Also, your company’s absence policy needs to be monitored and enforced consistently and fairly throughout the organisation to limit unscheduled absences – research shows that more than half of employed adults believe that their work performance is negatively impacted when attendance policies are not fairly enforced.

Be realistic and embrace the fun

It is also important to have fun. Rather than hindering staff enthusiasm over Wimbledon, embrace it – kit out your staff room with a TV; bring in some strawberries and cream and, put together some incentives and enjoy the key matches with your employees. This will not only improve staff morale but it can also encourage employee engagement which is more likely to result in a higher level of productivity.
Taking on board these top tips can help boost employee morale, whilst ensuring there is not a drop in productivity. Next year, make Wimbledon and other sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games a match point for employee engagement. For more tips on ensuring your workforce are motivated and engaged visit our retention game series by following the link below. The Retention Game

Tagged In: Current Affairs, Events
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