Major national events such as this month’s Royal wedding and next month’s football World Cup offer employers an opportunity to boost employee engagement and motivation, a study by HR website XpertHR shows.
More than half (51.7%) of employers say their organisation’s approach to major sporting and special events has a positive or very positive impact on employee engagement. Fewer than one in 20 (4.2%) say it has a negative effect.
Employers favour taking an informal approach when it comes to managing the workplace impact of sporting and special events, with only one employer in 10 (9.2%) having a formal policy in place.
However, the vast majority of employers do take some degree of action to accommodate major sporting and special events that take place during working hours. Facilities or arrangements include:
- a TV in a communal area or staff room;
- allowing employees to follow events online on work devices; and
- permitting the use of radios.
Three-quarters (75%) of employers make special working time arrangements for major sporting events or special events taking place during working hours. The most popular options are:
- flexible start and end times;
- considering late requests for annual leave;
- allowing employees to make up any working time taken to view events; and
- allowing differently timed lunch breaks.
Other employers take a more rigid approach, such as requiring employees to book annual leave or to use existing flexible working arrangements if they wish to follow events, but otherwise expecting full attendance during working hours.
Only one employer in four (26.7%) has had to deal with people management issues as a direct result of major sporting events or special events. The most common issues are reduced productivity and a spike in unauthorised absence. Only one respondent has had to implement a disciplinary procedure due to employee behaviour as a direct result of watching or attending an event.
The overall rarity of people management issues suggests that, if handled correctly, major sporting and special events can be beneficial for employer and employee alike.
One respondent comments: “Sporting events bring people together and lift employees’ moods. They also don’t need to call in sick and employees appreciate that the employer has put them before the bottom line.”
XpertHR managing editor for pay and HR practice Sheila Attwood says: “Major events like the royal wedding and the World Cup are an open goal for employers looking to lift employee morale and motivation. With the right mix of event, employee interest and workplace arrangements, employers can unify employees and boost engagement levels by channelling and reflecting positive emotions generated by the event.”