5 Olympic Lessons on Employee Engagement

5 Olympic Lessons on Employee Engagement

It's the Simple Things Which Make the Difference 

The Olympics, for many athletes are the ultimate test of speed, endurance and skill.

It seems like almost every 4 years not only are the athletes working and striving towards glory, but so too are the host cities!

Whether it's the athletes, coaches, administrators or volunteers, the time, dedication and energy which goes into the Olympics is incredible.

So what can learn from the Olympics which will help you engage your employees more effectively?

Here's 5 things we can take away from the Olympics..

1. Different Tactics Same Purpose

Everyone in the Olympics will be working towards either one of two goals. Either to win a medal or to achieve a personal best. However the tactics they use to achieve this will be quite different.

Some will perform to their strengths, others will try to improve their weaknesses, some athletes will aim to benefit off of the performance of another, many will simply endeavour to 'stay in the race' hoping an opportunity will present itself which they can captialise on.

Whatever tactics they choose everyone is still striving towards the same purpose!

How It Relates to Engaging Employees

When it comes to engaging employees everyone has the same strategy. Improve engagement. Pretty simple. The trick though is knowing what approach will give you the best results for the amount of energy you put in.

2. It's the Simple Things Which Make the Difference

You listen to most elite athletes, and sure they have talent, however many of them talk about their success coming from doing the basics. They often simply focus on two or three key principles which make up about 80% of their performance.

How It Relates to Engaging Employees

Everyone seems to think that engaging employees has to be a complex puzzle which only those with a PHD have any chance of improving.

So I'm going to strip away all the ego which is attached to the Employee Engagement industry and let you in on a little secret!


(ouch! I don't think the academics will like that too much!)

Like an elite athlete all you need to do is focus on 3 to 4 key engagement principles which make all the difference.

Don't over complicate things - keep it simple.

Every time you interact with staff is a chance to engage them. So engage them! 

3. Takes Daily Commitment

When was the last time you saw an Olympian pull up after one training session, 3 years out from the Olympics and go "You know what...I'm ready!"

Getting ready for the highlight of your career takes daily commitment and dedication. Olympians have to do the extra work, get up early, reflect on performance, adjust their mindset, overcome obstacles, collaborate with experts and constantly adjust their path.

How It Relates to Engaging Employees

It's exactly the same when creating your employee engagement program. You can't expect to hold a once off team activity and think you've ticked the 'engagement box'!

No. You need to be working on it every day. As a leader, every time you 'interact' with an employee it's an opportunity to either engage, assess their engagement levels and refine your approach.

BUT REMEMBER if you're using 4 easy engagement principles as your primary focus this whole process is really easy!

4. Take Time to Recover 

I once heard an Olympic wannabe explain why he missed out on team selection. He put it down to one thing - he didn't allow his body and mind to recover from intense workouts.

Speak to any professional athlete and they'll tell you they spend just as much time (if not more) recovering as they do working out.

How It Relates to Engaging Employees

Research shows that staff are more effective when they work in short, sharp bursts, have a rest and then go again. Provide your staff the opportunity to 'recover' during your 'quiet' periods.

Make sure though that you get staff away from their usually activities and do something playful, creative and fun.

One of first clients was a major accounting firm. When did they get us to come in and run some fun team activities?

The afternoon of the financial year end!

5. Humanity Leaves a Deeper Impression than Results

The most powerful moments of any Olympics is when an athlete performs an act of 'good sportsmanship'.

Those times when someone collapses on track and another athlete turns around to help them up.

It's this kind of heart which your business will be remembered for - not some numbers on a page. 

How It Relates to Engaging Employees

The third Funergizers engagement principle is SERVE. Whatever you decide to do to engage your staff make sure it has heart and soul! See your staff for the unique, amazing people they are. Help them be their best. Serve them to shine. Help them feel significant!

Good luck with your Olympic Engagement - A great fun themed team bonding activity to run is the Office Olympics activity - It's easy to run and a stack of fun!

P.S. When you're ready to Energize and Optimize Your Team Culture, here's several ways to get started...

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mikesymondsroundMike Symonds is the owner of Interactive Events and Creator of Funergizers. Known as the Chief Funergizer, Mike specialises in helping business leaders create energized, connected and engaging team cultures.

To discover more about Funergizers and how they can work with your team schedule your FREE DISOVERY SESSION

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