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How to… keep a team motivated throughout the Olympics

21 June 2012
How to… keep a team motivated throughout the Olympics

Last year we predicted that as the harshness and austerity of the economic climate had increased, and resolve and morale had worn steadily thinner, high numbers of people would be looking to change jobs as economic prospects began to recover.

For some people employed in hospitality there's a prevailing feeling of "I'm going to see out the Olympics and then move on". For many this presents opportunities; for others the reverse. The key is to make sure you know who will go and who will stay; whether you're likely to lose key people and how you're going to attract those leavers from elsewhere to join you.

We [at Learnpurple] wrote a book to help transform businesses into great places to work, deliver a great employee experience and score a positive reputation in the marketplace as a result. Much of this is common sense; simple steps towards helping employees to keep faith in their employers, and feel trusted, important, cared for and supported rather than let down,

The opportunity here is to use any downtime (for some pre-Olympics, for others during) to make simple business improvements that will allow you to deliver on great "people stuff".

The Olympic legacy is much lauded; we'd implore every business to engender its own Olympic legacy. Make this the catalyst to becoming a better place to work with a talented, well-motivated workforce to match.

By now you'll have no doubt worked through your Olympic marketing strategy; and also through the logistics of deliveries, transport and rotas. Have you paid similar attention to using the games as a team-bonding, inspirational and motivation tool? Putting up a screen, encouraging people to take a little time out to watch key events together, cheering on their country, is a one-off opportunity, not to be missed. After all having fun at work means a happy workforce and happy customers.

Jane Sunley is CEO of Learnpurple

Five ways to keep your team in peak condition

1 The games Think about how you can make the most of this opportunity to have fun together without disrupting the business. Be flexible about home working and hours. People often frown when we suggest allowing employees to work out their own rotas, but it is a motivational tool and makes good sense (always agree "non-negotiables" from the off).

2 Empathy People based in London and other Olympic sites are likely to be working long and hard so if possible create a leisure space where food and drink are on tap rather than at set times. This is a perfect opportunity to show you care. Working and watching the sports together creates a unique chance to share experiences and stories that will last long after the games.

3 Engagement Find out how people are feeling, both in general and about the forthcoming Olympics, and ask them what could make your business a better place to work. Often it's the little things that make all the difference. Listen and act on the quick wins. And if impossible requests come up, explain why solutions aren't feasible and discuss alternatives together.

4 Communications Plan ahead now to make sure people know what to expect, how your business and - more importantly - your people are going to be affected. Keep them informed throughout by creating open, two-way channels of communication. Most people will have never been through an Olympic celebration, let alone worked on one, so only by clear messaging, constant reviewing and open discussion will people feel motivated, informed and enthused.

5 Legacy Agree with your people what your Olympic legacy will be - in other words, what are you all going to do differently that will improve your business in terms of being somewhere that people are proud to work in, and happy to recommend. Keep it simple, write it down, publicise it and, most importantly, do it.

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