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Study: Team sports participation improves workplace attitudes, performance

June 17, 2019 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
New research found that employees who participated in team sports at some point in their life are more likely to believe their work team exceeds its goals, trust their co-workers, and tap into their individual strengths every day on the job.

Photo: Sarah Jones, Wikimedia Commons

“This research makes it clear that businesses can learn from the high performance and teamwork culture that often is cultivated in sports,” says Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill’s president and chief executive officer. “Across the board, we found that team sports athletes say their workplace teams are high performance, embrace continuous growth and change, have a common purpose, and capitalize on their strengths.”

More and more, businesses are moving toward team-based initiatives. Harvard Business Review reports that employees spend 50% more of their time on collaborative work than they did 20 years ago. And, research from Eagle Hill Consulting finds that nearly half of the workforce says their work is becoming more team-oriented, while half of the workforce predicts that team-oriented projects will become increasingly prevalent at work.

  » ALSO SEE: Why playing multiple sports matters

“Business isn’t a game, but it is a team sport,” Jezior said. “Gone are the days of working alone in closed door offices. Businesses that can figure out how to create a mission-driven culture that fosters teamwork broadly across the organization will have a competitive advantage. Building this type of culture is increasingly important as companies focus more on group initiatives, collaboration and trust to achieve the business goals.”

In a new national poll of U.S. workers that examines teamwork and change in the workplace, Eagle Hill found that:

  • 83% of team sports athletes say they use their strengths every day at work, as compared to 63% of employees who didn’t play team sports.
  • 76% of team sports athletes say they trust their teammates, as compared to 55% of employees who didn’t play team sports.
  • 73% of team sports athletes said their work team is committed to success, as compared to 49% of employees who didn’t play team sports.
  • 73% of team sports athletes say their team constantly learns and strives to get better, as compared to 50% of employees who didn’t play team sports.
  • 56% of team sports athletes said their team enthusiastically responds to change, as compared to 35% of employees who didn’t play team sports.
  • 69% of team sports athletes say their team capitalizes on individual strengths, as compared to 48% of employees who didn’t play team sports.
  • 66% of team sports athletes say their consistently exceeds goals, as compared to 45% of employees who didn’t play team sports.

The findings are contained in new Eagle Hill research, What makes workplace teams to go all the way?


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