A recent Harris Poll conducted before the 2016 Rio Olympics found that 55 million Americans were hoping to watch some of the games LIVE while they were at work. Since the games took place in the Western hemisphere tape delays wouldn’t be necessary and a lot of the high profile events would be happening right during America’s ‘9 to 5.’
Not surprisingly, the vast majority of respondents had little to no hope that they actually WOULD be allowed to watch the Olympics at work. In fact, many of them reported sneaky plans to watch them anyway: come in late, leave early, take a ‘personal’ day, switch shifts with others or just secretly stream broadcasts at their workstations.
As a leader, do you recognize an opportunity here? You don’t need a poll to tell you that pretty much everyone in the world will tune in to see the Olympics at some point every four years. It’s a shared tradition that seems to cross all demographics. And while maybe it’s not as big abroad as it is domestically because we (the US) do tend to wind up KILLING in the Olympics, it is certainly a ‘big deal’ in these United States. And you know, instinctively, that your people get into the stories around Michael Phelps and Simone Biles and US sprinters and Hope Solo and yes, beach volleyball and the debatable functionality of teeny weeny bikini bottoms, because they’re fascinating narratives and the athletic spectacle is hypnotic.
So, you DEFINITELY can see that setting up some screens around the department or the cafeteria, or having an Olympics viewing party with snack and treats would be a huge gesture to your people. And you wouldn’t JUST to do it because it’s fun, but you would do it as a way to say ‘thank you’ for an amazing quarter or for finishing a project on time and under budget or another month of zero injuries. You wouldn’t just do something crazy cool like that without strategically maximizing your efforts.
With an increasingly diverse workforce you know there will be fans of many different national teams. But the time spent casually watching the games will breed a camaraderie and friendship among your employees, just as the Olympics itself does among competitors.
You don’t have to wait another four years for the 2020 games in Korea to have and fun and recognize your employees. Be looking for opportunities all the time. Because the Olympics certainly aren’t the ONLY reason your people might want to come in late, leave early, take a ‘personal’ day or switch shifts with someone else.
What can you do for them right now or tomorrow to keep their heads in the game?