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Is your organisation World Cup fit?

Posted on 20th May 2010
HR practice

The World Cup (and other sporting events) and the possible employee absentee problems that it may generate need not be a problem. Handled well, the World Cup is a great opportunity to build upon (or rebuild) goodwill lost during the recession. With a little training you (and your employees) can make the most of the World Cup!

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Julie Temple Julie
Partner Telephone: 01473 694407

Training program

1.  Make clear to your employees your plans and expectations for the World Cup. Ideally you should communicate these by email, letter or memo.

2.  Ensure that your rules are clear about absences, how they should be notified and authorised.

3.  Be clear about how unauthorised absences will be dealt with. Explain that unauthorised absences will not be paid. Implement return to work interviews and consider whether disciplinary action is appropriate.

4.  Encourage employees to book holiday for any games that they want to watch and which interfere with their working hours.

5.  Manage employees' expectations by explaining the need to maintain minimum staffing levels and that it may not be possible to grant holiday in all cases. The minimum level could be relaxed for the period of the World Cup.

6.  Implement flexible working arrangements to enable employees to make up time for any game they want to watch. Consider, for example, flexibility over start and finish times, extended lunch breaks, shift swaps and unpaid leave.

7.  Set up an area where employees can watch games (if this is possible).

8.  Make sure that employees are clear on any internet (and monitoring) policy. Many games are likely to be available over the web or with 'live' updates. Will 'watching' games in this way be permitted?

9.  Encourage employees to show their support by displaying banners and flags and/or wearing their teams' shirt on match days (again if appropriate!).

10.  Remember that it is not only England that employees are likely to support. Ensure that the same level of flexibility is offered to all. Failure to do so could give rise to complaints of discrimination.

11.  Consider how any flexibility can be extended to non-football supporters. For example, provide a football free area.

12.  Alcohol use and related absences are likely to increase during the World Cup. Employees should be reminded of any alcohol policy, or advised of the employers views of consuming alcohol during working hours (whilst watching a game at work) or attending work under the influence the 'morning after'.  

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