Don’t just Ryde out the rest of the year

golf tee“They think it’s all over” is an expression that seemed very appropriate for the moment when Europe pulled it out of the bag at this years’ Ryder Cup. By securing the necessary 8 ½ points Europe were able to defeat previous victors USA and clinch the winning score of 14 ½ points.

European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal and his 11 comrades certainly did not have an easy ryde (excuse the pun!). Trailing by 4 points at the end of Saturday the Spanish Captain had to ensure that his team took on a positive approach the following morning, not just in terms of their sporting strategies, but in themselves. An attitude that many employers should seek to mimic as the year draws to a close, sales may be down, productivity low and morale fast seeping away, but reinvigorating your team for one final push could have dramatic results.

Engaging your workforce with the task in hand is extremely similar to a good game of golf. Commencing the game with the right attitude and strategy is integral to ensuring success. Enabling your team mates to receive the utmost training and support with every swing and, despite the occasional bunker, you must never take your eye off the ball.

Employee engagement has been a topic on most companies ‘to do’ lists for the last few years, but due to the ongoing economic struggle many managers haven’t got round to addressing it or simply don’t know where to start.

Towers & Watsons’ 2012 Global Workforce Study revealed that only 35% of employees are engaged at work. A further 22% of employees feel unsupported and 17% feel detached from their company. Towers & Watson goes on to state that “Businesses appear to be at a critical tipping point in their ability to maintain engagement over time” but with limited funds many companies may feel they are powerless to steer the game in their favour.

Towers & Watson are taking it ‘back to the old school’ as they stress the need for companies to close the gaps in the traditional engagement model:

  • The first gap – Enabling workers with internal support. Researching efficient technologies for future investment and ensuring workers are satisfied with the resources at their disposal will help bridge the first gap.
  • The second gap – Creating an environment that’s energising to work in. Employers need to promote physical, social and emotional wellbeing. Building a sense of excitement and urgency by celebrating success in the workplace and by including more employees in the initial brainstorming sessions can certainly create a positive buzz. Yes there is stress, but it is positive stress.

Positive stress is something European Captain Jose Maria can certainly empathise with, although his direct approach isn’t something to be replicated in the workplace. For example when he offers encouraging words to Mark Kaymer “We need your point. I don’t really care how. Just deliver it.” But Jose Maria believed in himself and his team mates abilities to succeed and supported them every step of the way.

Like our fellow Golf champions, it is never too late! Ensure your team are receiving enough support to keep them engaged in the game and by next year’s Ryder Cup employee engagement will hopefully have scored a hole in one.


John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.

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