Call us on 0844 324 5840


What can we learn from the success of the Olympics?

Tokyo 2020 was undoubtedly an unusual Olympic Games. Athletes had no family, friends, or spectators present, and only their teammates and coaches to support them and share their successes. Yet, this didn’t prevent the athletes from delivering their best.

With Team GB placing fourth on the medal table, accumulating 65 medals in total, athletes from all over the world are enjoying the peak of their careers. They’ve shattered world records; beat personal bests and won medals day after day. The commitment of Olympians to their sports cannot be underestimated, and the joy and admiration they experience are more than earned. When the Paralympics start next week under similar conditions, we will undoubtedly see similar levels of commitment and diligence, which will be recognised across the nation.

So, what lessons can we learn from our Olympians and Paralympians when it comes to recognising and celebrating success at work?

Recognising and celebrating success

Celebrating success is not something all athletes are comfortable with. Some shy away from the cameras, while others seem too emotional to speak. This reluctance to celebrate success is often seen in the business world. Many of us align success with hard work, but the celebration is something we keep to our private and personal lives.

Olympic athletes are committed to their goals and have a single-minded focus on achieving them. Similarly, career-minded employees put all their efforts into succeeding at work and deserve recognition and celebration when goals are met. However, in some workplaces, particularly with many employees working remotely, recognition is not always granted when it is due.

It’s more important than ever to celebrate workplace successes and recognise those employees who are giving their best, just as the Olympians did.

Acknowledging and rewarding hard work

The first step is considering what kind of celebration and recognition is right for your workplace and the individual in question. Sometimes something as simple as a private message or email expressing appreciation of someone’s quality of work is enough. Private recognition can be much more personal and detailed, and it can help individuals improve their overall performance and commitment to the organisation.

Whereas, in other instances, a more public acknowledgment may be more appropriate. Public recognition is a powerful tool as it allows the whole workforce to celebrate and brings visibility to the individual or team in question, highlighting their value to the business. It can also be seen as a motivator for other individuals or teams, giving them the impetus to push forward with their goals.

Managers who take time to demonstrate their gratitude and appreciation for their team can benefit from a more positive working environment. Depending on the environment, gifts and incentives can also be a great idea to recognise achievements. Handwritten thank-you notes, small gifts, and inclusion on company communications such as mentions on social media or in newsletters can be valuable. They show the employee that you want to celebrate with them and that their successes are of real value to the business.

If any gifts and incentives are introduced, they must be aligned to your company’s Equal Opportunities policy and should not inadvertently discriminate.

The gold standard in workplace recognition

Team success is a chance to really celebrate, as we’ve seen at Tokyo 2020. Team GB’s mixed triathlete team and 4x200m swimming teams both walked away with gold medals and could celebrate each other’s successes at the finishing line.

Recognising and celebrating each team members’ role not only bolsters individual confidence and motivation, but it can increase a team’s drive to persevere too. Keeping employees motivated and on-task is much easier if they feel appreciated. Celebrating their successes and rewarding them where appropriate is a great way of cementing your position as an employer who is dedicated to developing employees to the best they can be.

If you require further information about employee engagement; retention or satisfaction, Contact Us today and we can help you to effectively manage your workforce.




Got questions? Looking for advice?


Got questions? Looking for advice?


Explore our comprehensive library of related resources to gain valuable insights, expert tips, and helpful tools for optimising your HR practices.

ILM Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management (Online)
Online Training
21 March 2024
ILM Level 5 Award in Leadership and Management (Online)
Online Training
22 February 2024
Working with Trade Unions
18 June 2024


Receive all the latest industry insights, expert tips and exciting updates from HR Solutions, straight to your inbox.

Strategic HR thinking whitepaper

Our latest HR whitepaper offers an in-depth analysis and strategic framework aimed at transforming Human Resources into a pivotal element of business success in the rapidly evolving corporate environment of 2024.


Register your details below and we will contact you regarding how HR Solutions can support your organisation.


We’re here to assist you with any questions or enquiries you might have. Simply fill out the form below, and our dedicated team will get back to you.

Request your free trial

Register your details below and we will contact you about your 30 day free trial of the HR Knowledge Base.


Register your details below and we will contact you about access to the HR Knowledge Base.  As part of your approved industry membership organisation you can get access to the HR Knowledge Base, created by Business HR Solutions, which is the go-to resource for thousands of business owners and managers across the UK.


We’re here to assist you with any questions or enquiries you might have. Simply fill out the form below, and our dedicated team will get back to you.


Please complete the form and one of our team will call you back to discuss your query/booking.


Our latest 2023/24 SME Business Survey sheds light on the intricate dynamics shaping the SME sector and unveils critical insights that can guide businesses toward sustainable success.


HR Solutions are here to help. We offer a standard hourly rate package for ad hoc HR advice which means you can pay for what you need, whenever you need it, and then quickly get advice. Our highly experienced advisors are on hand to provide you with practical employment advice to help you manage your workforce.  You can purchase HR Advice Line time now, and the time purchased will be valid for 12 months.