How to Leverage Football Season in Your Employee Engagement Practices
Let's face it, during the months of September through February, football is on nearly everyone’s mind around the office. Employees are talking about their favorite football teams, how the teams rank against one another, their Fantasy Leagues, and the scores from Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night’s games. Sounding familiar?
I know this conversation can become a bit of a distraction in the office and I've seen plenty of managers and executives get concerned about how to avoid it. People are going to talk, and it's our choice as leaders on how we want to respond. We can either embrace the conversation and let it be apart of a fun culture, or we can do the exact opposite.
As an HR consultant, you can probably tell which way I lean.
In my opinion, we have an opportunity to build this football excitement and buzz into our employee engagement strategy. Yes, putting those two concepts together can seem kind of silly, but it's shared experiences like this that make people feel a sense of connection and it can truly help build the collaboration among your team.
Here are a few ideas for consideration below.
6 Ways to Build Employee Morale During Football Season
- Team Building Activities: Many of your employees share some of the same teams, but may not know it! Use this as an opportunity to have your employees get to know one another and get some cross training done. You could even have a fantasy football work league!
- Jersey Days: Allow your employees to come to work a little more casual on a Friday and declare it Team Jersey Day(s). Encourage your employees to wear their favorite team jerseys. Your employees will be excited to show their team spirit and feel a little more relaxed during the day since they are not wearing their dress shoes, shirt and suits.
- Lunch around Football: Employee’s love food and it is always a good morale booster. Your employees will feel appreciative that you supplied them with their favorite football food such as pizza, wings, nachos, French fries, sodas, and the like.
- Football after Work: Meet at a local restaurant for happy hour, somewhere that shows football games on the big screen. It will allow you an opportunity for everyone to get to know one another a little better and relax outside the typical work setting.
- Show off the Winning Teams: Leave a little surprise on the desks of your employees whose favorite teams won or who won the work Fantasy League. Or even write a congrats note on the chalkboard your office kitchen. I’m sure they would be pleased that you were thinking of them and taking the time to remember their favorite team.
- Enjoy the Conversation: Take a little time to enjoy the football conversation. This little break from work will give your employees an opportunity to step away from work for a bit. When the employees return from their break, they will refreshed and ready to work.
And if you really want to score big, you could consider making the Monday after Super Bowl a paid holiday like my colleague suggests!
At first glance, the football chatter can seem like a distraction from important work. However, keep in mind that collaboration, friendly-competition and having a shared common interest among employees will all greatly benefit the culture and Employee Engagement among your team. Happy employees always produce the best work!