Avoid inclusivity ‘own goal’ with Euro 2024 parties

Organisations may consider allowing employees to watch the England football team play during working hours, however, this gesture could backfire if not everyone is interested or comfortable with football culture

Avoid inclusivity ‘own goal’ with Euro 2024 parties

As the England football team makes the 2024 European Championships’ quarter-finals, organisations may be tempted to give their employees the chance to down tools and watch the match together during working hours. While it may come from good intentions, the gesture could however backfire if football, or indeed the hype around the England team, is not for everyone. 

The excitement of an international football tournament can easily take over an office or a workplace, but the sport’s long-time association with boorish, laddish culture can make it an automatic and unwelcome turn-off for many people. This is particularly pertinent if an organisation already has underlying issues around company culture or inclusivity, in which case what is intended to be a treat for all your employees could quickly become divisive. 

Seven steps to an inclusive team bonding experience

With just a few simple considerations, however, organisations can turn the sporting tournament to their advantage, creating a team bonding experience which results in a more meaningful, empathetic and inclusive workplace for all: 

Embrace multiculturalism – communicate when different countries’ events/games are televised/streamed and what times / time zones your people are allowed to watch them. 

Clearly communicate the organisation’s rules on alcohol consumption, and expected standards of behaviour, for example, no aggressive language, observing rules on displaying national flags, etc. Likewise, a reminder on social media policies to ensure that employees don’t use any personal accounts linked to the organisation as a means of sharing their own views on the tournament. 

Run a light-hearted sweepstake as an informal way of involving everyone, regardless of nationality or their levels of interest in football. 

Give equal consideration to other summer activities involving employees, such as allowing parents to attend school sports days as an alternative watching Euro 24 football matches, strengthening equitable treatment for workforces in the process

Celebrate diversity across the organisation by holding ‘preview’ and ‘winners’ events such as in-person/hybrid socials where people share which team they follow, reasons why and what players to look out for. 

Embrace the entire tournament’s spirit of togetherness, rather than  just getting behind one team. Being a gracious winner is part of being an empathetic manager. Take a few minutes or have a quick social to acknowledge the winner or salute a particular country. 

Finally, remember there’s more to sport than football! Consider opportunities around other high profile events this summer such as Wimbledon, the Olympics/Paralympics and the Women’s T20 World Cup. 

Daniel Gualdino
Daniel Gualdino

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