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Employee engagement in the rhythm of the Olympic Games

The impact of employee engagement on your employer brand cannot be underestimated. Studies consistently show companies with higher levels of engagement are more productive, profitable and rank highly in best place to work surveys.

On a recent trip to Moscow I took the opportunity to discuss employee engagement in the rhythm of the Olympic Games as seen through the eyes of employer ambassador, Tatiana Rudneva, Olympic Project Manager in Coca-Cola Hellenic, Russia

There are not many companies who have the opportunity to make vivid and positive lasting impressions on an employee through their involvement at a world class sporting event.

The Coca-Cola Company maintains the longest continuous relationship with the Olympic Movement. The company sponsored the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, and has supported every Olympic Games since. At the London 2012 Olympic Games, Coca Cola engaged employees as ambassadors in their role as activators at Olympic Games venues. Activators are responsible for providing fast delivery of Coca-Cola products and exceptional merchandising of Coca-Cola products at Game venues.

At London 2012 over four hundred Coca-Cola ‘Commandos' around the world traveled to London to support the venues. Twenty ‘Commandos’ from Russia will also travel to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

On the 18th of July 2012, Coca-Cola ‘Commandos’ from the Russian team landed in London and went straight into action! After checking into their hotel and attending meetings with colleagues from other countries and participating in training sessions, the ‘Commandos’ were communicated a clear vision – ‘The Coca-Cola Team should provide a memorable experience to athletes and spectators around the clock during the course of the Games.

It was no small task! Three thousand, five hundred Coca-Cola coolers and vendors were distributed to Olympic Games venues along with twenty three million bottles of Coca-Cola. A lot of spectators at the Olympic Park venue enjoyed a Coca-Cola drink as did nearly every athlete in the Olympic Village.

The Coca-Cola team spirit provided an unforgettable Olympic Games for all employees involved. The Games gathered people from a diversity of backgrounds, knowledge, languages and cultures, creating a Global Coca-Cola dream team! The Games united the Coca-Cola employees in a way that only the Olympic Games can.

The impact of the Games on employee engagement at Coca-Cola was phenomenal. Employees supported one another around the clock and shared in the highs and lows of the Games as athletes do. Staff also experienced the many wonderful emotional moments that are part of an Olympic Games.

It was hard work and the high level of engagement often exceeded the feeling of tiredness amongst the team. Employees received invaluable experience in the operations at venues and gained valuable insights into how to plan their work during the preparation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Employees also enjoyed the opportunity to visit many of London’s world class attractions during their spare (very little) time.

Whilst the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi are still some time away, every day in the lead up to the 2014 Winter Olympics counts! Now back in their local offices in Russia, the ‘Commandos’ continue to inspire other employees with their ambassadorship and engagement that continues to be displayed long after the Olympic Games have past. For many, the amazing feeling of being part of an Olympic Games with Coca-Cola will remain with them for the rest of their life!

An opportunity for employees to take part in historical events is a strong motivator and a positive incentive. Many interesting surprises in the future will allow our employees to become a part of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. It is another memorable experience we look forward to as part of our experience of working for Coca-Cola.

Co-author of this article, Tatiana Rudneva is the Olympic Project Manager in Coca-Cola Hellenic, Russia where she is responsible for the Employees Olympic activities toolkit and the People Legacy Plan inside Coca-Cola Hellenic in Russia.

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