There is no doubt that Manchester United is one of the greatest football clubs in the world, having enjoyed enormous success both domestically and on the European stage with numerous titles and trophies a testament to this success. It wasn’t luck that they landed these accolades but, rather years of hard work, dedication, team building, constant training and preparation.
The team’s longest-standing and most successful head coach, Sir Alex Ferguson, once said: “Winning a game is a short-term gain, building a club brings stability and consistency.” As any football fan will know, they are currently trying to rebuild to get back to these glory days.
But this mentality, along with a competitive advantage in the field of rehabilitation and fitness, became Manchester United’s winning formula during that era.
Whilst the boardroom and locker room may appear worlds apart, companies can learn a lot about achieving success and productivity in the workplace by emulating Manchester United. In the same way that any sporting team needs the tools to protect and enhance the performance of their most valuable assets — the players — companies need to be equipped with the skills to protect their employees and create a safe and productive work environment.
In the constant quest for an effective and efficient workforce, there are four ways business leaders can apply this within their organisation.
1. Creating the ultimate Workplace Athlete
To prolong the careers of star players, there has been decades of scientific research into injury prevention and management methods. Sports science now utilises the most comprehensive technology to maximise athlete performance, while minimising injury risks. The result — an engaged and productive team that consistently delivers results at the top level.
The good news for companies is that several of the principles and techniques utilised by leading sports teams can also be applied in the workplace.
By taking a proactive approach to injury prevention and performance analysis, businesses can manage the physical capacity of their workforce and in turn, create the ultimate Workplace Athlete.
2. Minimising the risk of injury
Similar to when a player on the field gets injured, the longer an employee is unable to work due to injury, the greater the impact is on the performance of the business. However, by applying effective sports science and injury management procedures, companies can predict and prevent injuries in the workplace and even ensure that employees who have had a work-related accident return to full capacity, as soon as possible, without re-injury.
By using movement analysis technology, businesses are able to minimise the risk of injury by:
Identifying and quantifying the specific physical demands of work tasks
Systematically monitoring fatigue and predicting injury risk using the same equipment and techniques developed to monitor elite athletes
Improving worker capacity through conditional programs, using the movement patterns involved in work tasks, and thereby improving their resilience to the workload
3. Maximising individual worker performance
Employee performance and business success are intrinsically linked. And, in order to maximise individual worker performance, movement analysis tools and supporting research are used.
Sports coaches know each player and their abilities and know just how to drive the very best performance from each individual. While it’s much harder for companies with large workforces to achieve this level of detail, there are definitely ways to leverage technology, and individualise risk management approaches.
The first key step is to understand the factors that influence the work tasks, from emotional to physical demands. For example, calculating the maximal work tasks of any employee compared with their level of health and fitness.
4. Fitting the worker to the task
Like football teams fit players to their perfect field position, the application of Sports Science in the workplace can help ‘fit the worker to the work task’. In particular, programs can be put in place to identify the physical capacity of new employees in a pre-employment screening that is specifically created to reflect the physical demands of the work tasks.
— Preventure Team