Team USA Uses Intranet to Create Game-Changing Playbooks to Accelerate Communications

By Hani Khan
One may ask what Team USA and its governing organization have to do with communications. Well, a lot! Most don’t understand that the administrative body includes several organizations that provide governance and oversight for thousands of athletes and hundreds of sports. There is an immense need for workplace collaboration, cross-organizational communication, transparency, and a central source of truth. Their story of successfully partnering with Simpplr intranet to create an internal communication system is one of strategy, competency, and perseverance. Just like a champion athlete.

Disconnected Governing Bodies

The U.S. Olympic organizations in the U.S. not only oversee the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, but they are also responsible for essentially being the umbrella that supervises over 50 national governing bodies. These would include groups such as USA Basketball, USA Swimming, and USA Gymnastics. They also manage all aspects of other individual sports at varying levels, from youth programs to master and senior-level championships for athletes 55 years old and over. What is unique is that every team organization has its own independent nonprofit governed by its board of directors. 

Though National Governing Boards (NGBs) are connected, they didn’t have the exact needs or operation methods, which created miscommunication. The complex structure of Team USA made it difficult to align all the organizations and communicate efficiently. They needed a way to bring them all together.

Communication Priorities

  • Distributed Administration and Target Messaging

One of the first steps was to form a team within the Department of NGB Services to facilitate better communication. They realized that communication was lacking between NGB, the Olympic Planning Committees, and all 54 national governing bodies. 

Davis Tutt is the National Governing Body services coordinator for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC). He is responsible for being a liaison between the national governing bodies. It can be a complicated job dealing with many executive directors and board chairs in the USOPC. Part of this position is to head up the National Governing Bodies Council, which has the leadership of all those different organizations. 

About four years ago, Davis and the NGB began to understand the disparity of the structure of the various groups involved in Team USA and the lack of cohesive communication. They wanted to learn how to facilitate better communication, so they investigated multiple platforms.

  • The Need for Social Element and Bi-directional Communication

Ultimately, Team USA wanted a system that could do four things:

  1. Create a centralized virtual headquarters for the USOPC and the NGBs. 
  2. Enable communication between the USOPC and the NGBs. 
  3. They needed a way for the NGBs to create site-enabled search functions and a strong navigation ability giving them information and content autonomy.
  4. Create a site for accessible resources, such as documents or videos, and share best practices among new users.

Team USA ultimately needed to remove the silos between the sporting organizations. Each one required transparency and visibility into what people and sports were doing in other organizations. Then, they needed to share information throughout the USOPC in a manner and format that was familiar.

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Olympics and Team USA

The Hub became an integral part of Team USA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though The Hub had 16 sites for all the organizations, they placed one more for COVID-19. The Simpplr intranet platform allowed the entirety of Team USA staff at every level an opportunity to get the information that they needed on COVID. The ability to coordinate and communicate was especially critical because 2020 was an Olympic year.

According to Davis, Simpplr was one of the most helpful ways Team USA had to distribute resources and communicate with the national governing bodies. Every staff member needed to know what transpired, and Simpplr enabled them to do that. Team USA could get the information across to anybody who needed it during those confusing months.

The Winning Takeaways

In a time of difficulty, Simpplr more than proved its value. First, the USOPC is disparate with over 50 National Governing Bodies. It needed a platform that served as a gathering place on a centralized platform for all NGBs to share information and resources. NGB Services, combined with Simpplr intranet serving an integral role, enabled NGBs to become better businesses and more successful.

Additionally, The Hub has enabled NGB’s to collaborate and learn from one another and the entire Olympic movement as a whole. They overcame the isolation and siloed knowledge willingly through quick adoption and engagement. There is also the ability to communicate quickly and transparently through clear channels that have improved efficiency.

Lastly, NGBs can provide rapid services from governance to game operations. They create and post governance templates, grant document seminar recordings, becoming a one-stop-shop for NGB services. David stated that Simpplr intranet became a lifesaver for the NGB movement, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moving forward, as The Hub grows, adding new users every month. There are monthly rollouts, and Team USA can’t wait to see what the future holds for them. The platform has impacted not only the business side of the USOPC, but it has changed lives and progressed the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the United States. All because of the groundwork Team USA laid, the process of investigation, and the ease of operation of Simpplr.

Watch the on-demand presentation

To find out more about USOPC and Team USA’s victory using Simpplr watch Davis Tutt’s entire Cohesion 2021 Conference presentation here. If you want to take your company’s internal communication to the championship level, contact Simpplr for a demo and prepare to go for the gold!

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