The chill in the air, the packed streets and highways, and the influx of people wearing logoed t-shirts and sweatshirts make it obvious: football season has arrived. Whether you’re a hardcore enthusiast or simply enjoy the overall atmosphere, most everyone is affected in one way or another by the football games (even if it’s just your favorite Monday-night primetime television show being delayed due to overtime).
While seemingly unrelated to the workplace, football can actually teach a valuable lesson about employees’ relationships with their jobs. Managers should encourage their employees to act as number one fans for their organization.
Every football team has a fan base of some sort. The most committed supporters show up to every game because they want to provide support. I’ve even known some devotees who think that if they miss a game, they will jinx the players and cause them to lose. While it is likely not the case that fans directly affect the outcome of a game (at least not in a cause and effect way), these individuals are so supportive of their players that they do everything in their power to attend each weekend.
Like these loyal fans, engaged individuals come to work ready and willing to “cheer” their workplace on to success. They put forth the effort needed to succeed by often coming in early and staying late in order to get their necessary tasks accomplished. They have lower absentee rates than disengaged workers, because they recognize that missing work will ultimately be harmful to their coworkers and business.
True football addicts also tend to take ownership of their teams. In a way, they accept responsibility for the wins and losses, with phrases such as “we won,” “we lost,” or “we’ll do better next year.” Many followers even internalize the team as part of their identity (“I’m a Packer’s fan,” “I’m a Wolverine,” etc.). Similarly, engaged employees take ownership of their projects, mistakes, and personal engagement. They operate as a group, taking joint responsibility for successes and failures. They treat every organizational win as a personal accomplishment, and work hard to achieve victory.
Finally, loyal fans also tend to gush about the players, coaches, stadium, etc. Even when the squad is doing poorly, supporters will attempt to put a positive spin on the losses (“Well, this week wasn’t so good, but we’re going to practice hard and next weekend our opponent will see what we’re really made of!”). Followers will try to convert others to join their cause by showcasing the positive traits of their team compared to others. Fans are true brand advocates for their teams.
Likewise, engaged employees spread the word, providing positive reviews to their peers and speaking positively about the organization in general. These are the people who believe their place of business is a great place to work, and this belief is reflected in their actions. Their recommendations and attitude toward customers attract new customers, leading to more business success.
Some of the most fruitful football teams in history are known for their large fan bases, indicating that supporters truly do make a difference when it comes to winning and losing. The same can be said in the workplace. When employees are engaged and loyal enthusiasts, business will boom. Encourage your workers to be dedicated devotees for your organization, and you will win the business game.
Speaking of winning, I really need to figure out tickets for next weekend’s game. Otherwise, my team might lose!