By John Wilson, Associate
In every office there are diplomas from a wide-range of schools hanging on the walls of their respective owners’ offices. Some are rivals, some are on different coasts, but one thing is constant – football. VALEO is no different.
With colleagues sporting undergraduate and graduate degrees from many schools, it’s always an interesting Friday discussion about the Saturday slate of college football games; California Golden Bears, Yale Bulldogs, Hobart Statesmen, Florida State Seminoles, and Georgia State Panthers are all included.
However, when sports and work mix, sometimes the results are messy. We hope that a bad loss among rival schools doesn’t create a situation that calls for a crisis communications strategy (obviously we are being a tad tongue-in-cheek here, but the parallels to your business’ crisis communications needs are apt, so these rules apply!), but in the event it does, we’ve got some tips for you.
- Empathize: when your colleague’s team loses on Saturday, there is no need to text them on Saturday or remind them about it on Monday morning in the break room. It’s often best not to bring it up, but if it does, tactfully comment and talk about the positives or commiserate in their pain if your team lost too.
- State policies and/or procedures: if someone does happen to push another’s buttons, it might be best for a manager to huddle with the group. This will allow the full-team to understand the policies and procedures of the office, and that making fun of someone who attended a school with a losing football program will not be tolerated.
- Articulate what will be done to address the crisis: when it’s a serious issue, it’s time for a partner or other company executive to talk with stakeholders (i.e., employees) about how they will tackle the problem to ensure that workplace sports-related conflicts do not happen again.
- Build and test: drafting, running drills and assessing the crisis plan is critical, not only for reassuring your current stakeholders, but to ensure all participants understand and can execute their role in the future, when a real crisis hits. The same goes for your employees. Establishing an employee handbook with clear and concise guidelines will lead to smoother operations – we cannot guarantee this approach will eliminate future rivalries, this is football and our company is in the South!
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And lastly, tell us your team, then cheer hard tomorrow and every Saturday this fall.