You Can Apply Olympic Best Practices to Your Own Workplace Team

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Feb 19, 2014

Anyone who knows me knows I’m an “Olympaholic!”

I LOVE the Olympic Games — Summer, Winter, it makes no difference. I love them all!

Beyond admiring the amazing athletic prowess, what really makes the Olympics special to me is all the personal interest stories.

It’s a peek into the lives of the athletes to learn about their stories. Most have had to overcome some sort of obstacle or set-back and I simply find it inspirational.

Building a personal connection

We often know more about the players on our favorite teams and that “knowing” hooks us — we care more because we have some sort of connection to them.

The same applies to the Olympics. Many of the athletes are strangers to us when the Games begin, but by the end of event, we feel like we’ve made new friends and are engaged in watching our new favorites compete.

Why does the personal interest story play a part in creating a new favorite?

Because we know something more about them and feel a connection.

That is a best practice we can apply to our own workplace teams. It’s about taking time to learn more about them and what will get them engaged at work.

I’ve called them “Personal Engagement Discussions.” It’s simple, requires very little prep on your part, costs no additional money and reaps great results!

How “Engagement Discussions” work

What could be better! Here’s how it works:

Ask each person on your team to complete a quick survey that includes key categories/topics that are typical factors in employee engagement. For example:

  • The Organization (culture, policies, organization reputation, stability);
  • People (teaming and camaraderie with colleagues and clients);
  • Quality of Life (work/life balance, flexibility, work environment, etc.;
  • Financial and Rewards (pay, benefits, recognition);
  • Type of Work (work activities, processes);
  • Growth and Opportunities (career and learning and opportunities);

Next, ask them to rank order (1-6), which is most to least important to them, then rate how satisfied they are with each one on a scale of 1-10 (1-least, 10-most) and provide any commentary.

Now, have a one-on-one meeting with the sole purpose of reviewing their survey.

The key to making this work

THIS IS IMPORTANT! This conversation is all about their satisfaction and understanding what you could do as their leader to improve their engagement. DO NOT allow the conversation to shift into discussing their performance or getting a status of their projects.

The magic happens when they realize that you are taking a personal interest in them. That demonstration of personal interest creates a unique connection – YOU CARE so they care!

I’ve seen it fundamentally change relationships in a very positive manner.

For example, after the discussion, you now know that if “type of work” is the most important thing to someone and they are not very satisfied in that area. You can begin to figure out what adjustments can be made and take some action that will be beneficial in their engagement.

How cool is that?! So take time to take an interest in your team members. It’s the best way to develop champions!

This was originally published on PeopleResult’s Current blog.