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Sports, A Mainstream Trend For Employee Engagement

Sports & fitness revolution in India; corporates are keeping pace

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The country is evolving and adapting newer practices to stay healthy, keeping pace with the rest of the world. The recent social media ‘fitness challenge’ trend initiated by Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to spread awareness around fitness drew a huge response. The entire fraternity, from the Hon’ble Prime Minister to cricketers, actors and influencers, came forward and posted their videos to encourage people to stay fit.  India is witnessing a phenomenal sports and fitness revolution and corporates too, are riding the wave. 

Lately, companies have started exploring multiple sporting options to create a healthy workplace environment and keep employees engaged through effective sports-driven team building initiatives. An increasing number of organizations are focusing on the well-being of their employees and attempting to channelize the energy of the young workforce in a positive direction. In certain situations where employees take time to fit into an environment, sports gives the right platform for them to be part of the group and fit in with confidence. Sport is a great ice-breaker!

Employee engagement, a team sport

Employee engagement is the emotional investment of an employee in the workplace. It is measured by their commitment to the workplace in terms of time, energy and talent and the level to which they are willing to commit in order to add value, and help advance the team and the organization as a whole. Sports as an engagement and team-building activity, push employees out of their comfort zone, without the work-related pressure that comes with the territory but with an element of fun.

Games as stimulant

This is when unique ideas are tabled, promoting brainstorming and enhancing the overall productivity of the team too. Sports might not help us solve business obstacles or contribute to corporate success directly, but it fosters a sense of unity and participation, creating a healthy competitive spirit amongst the employees, which is carried forth into professional activities too.

Looking at the larger picture of a corporate environment, though PowerPoint presentations and seminars may help to educate staffers on certain subjects relevant to their work, values like teamwork and creativity cannot be taught through the same methods. These are skills that a person needs to develop over a period of time. And the give-and-take of sports is a good teacher. 

A sociable work environment encourages employees to imbibe good interpersonal skills. The friendly competition of sports allows a take-home of discipline, decision-making, tolerance, cooperation, and setting and attaining goals, all of which are parallel quantum to what corporates chase in any case. While sports and the friendly rivalry of a game encourages the employees to recognize the value of leadership, it also helps improve their learning and adaptability, essential for team coordination, problem-solving, and strategic thinking. It also helps in conveying a very important aspect in accepting defeat or victory with grace.

Many companies have started ensuring sports is part of their annual scheduled event list. They pay special attention to their ‘mega’ outdoor team sports activities to generate a sense of sportsmanship and team spirit, which further enhances engagement within the organization.

Omegans at the forefront of sports

While the young force is seen to be extremely excited about sports activities at the workplace, there are multiple benefits making it a must for companies to include as part of their employee engagement strategy. For instance, at Omega we have dynamically leveraged sports as a means of employee engagement, inculcating the spirit of being ‘one’. 

We had thoughtfully divided these tournaments across all four cities - Chennai, Trichy, Bhimavaram and Bengaluru, taking into account the sports preferences of each location. Special committees for sports put all the efforts into making each sport a huge event with active employee participation.

The success of sports activities is dependent on a number of committees, participants, organizers, volunteering, hospitality, all working together in unison. We have observed an avid voluntary engagement while conducting these sports activities, starting from the committee creating the fixtures, marketing the event with posters, finalizing rewards and trophies for the winners, with a large team of people volunteering in organizing the event ensuring its smooth execution too.

The sports committee deploys multiple methods of marketing to promote sports and encourage participation. Our team has also brought in various rules to increase women’s participation in sports. Consider the cricket tournament; it is a mandate for every team to have at least two female employees participating in the game. This has helped ensure that sports as a medium of employee engagement are not restricted by gender. 

Along with outdoor sports, we give equal importance to indoor tournaments too which do not require much physical activity, especially for those who like to take it easy.   

Aside from the team sports, success is mostly considered as an individual’s achievement, but an organization can thrive only with collective participation. When employees are content with their work environment, it builds a sense of belonging which results in substantial tangible outcomes, both in terms of retention and in terms of productivity. With ongoing positive results, Omega is committed to perpetuating the spirit of sports in all its avatars. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
sports employee engagement employees skills

Rajeev Gonsalves

The author is senior Director – Corporate Communications, Omega Healthcare Management Services Pvt. Ltd.

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