We all know the Olympics are big business. London’s footing an £11.3 billion tab to host the games this year after shelling out £80 million for the opening ceremony alone.
But how big a business is it for the athletes themselves, the ones that train for four years to put on the sporting spectacle?
Sponsorship and endorsements aside, there are some serious incentives at stake depending on which country you’re from.
The biggest gold medal bounty is out for Singaporean athletes who can collect a whopping $1 million for their troubles.
Given the medals themselves are only worth a paltry $700, that is one colossal carrot.
The other big payers include Italy, Russia and Ukraine, who all tip in over $100k for their gold medals. Australia is also up there, tabling an enticing $20k for Olympic gold.
And for our swimmers it’s even more. Australian gold medalists in the pool will take home a hefty $35k a pop.
But going by our sad swag of two gold medals to date, evidently that’s not enough…
Similarly, Singapore’s missed the mark too having never captured a gold medal in the 64 years it’s contested the Summer Olympics.
So what’s the small business lesson in all this? The big bucks aren’t the be all and end all of incentive programs.
If you want an even and equitable rewards system to get the best out of your small business Olympians, here’s how you can get your pay structures right in 4 easy steps.
1. Define drivers
Sit down and set out how pay will be structured and the key drivers of different pay levels. Will it be internal aims, external achievements or performance based considerations to determine when pay is stepped up? These definitions form the basis of the salary system.
2. Look Around
To attract and retain employees you need to be paying at least the market rate so look around at what industry peers are paying and adjust accordingly. This is as easy as subscribing to industry surveys and making adjustments for any specific differences in your business.
3. Decide on a Type
Will you offer a base salary with an individual bonus system like Swimming Australia, or go for fringe benefits or even a team based bonus setup? Look at all the options and determine which works best for your business in terms of eligibility and the motivation of each staff member.
4. Put It Out There
Develop a clear policy around the decisions made in the first three steps. This will define expectations and equivalent jobs for each pay level. Communicate this with staff so the salary system is transparent and equitable.