How the Bristol Bears Have Optimized Team Operations in 2021
The Bristol Bears partnered with Teamworks, the operating system for elite sports, in June 2020, with a clear mandate to streamline team operations and improve communication and engagement among players and staff. After a focused implementation period, the Bristol Bears had transformed the bulk of the day-to-day operational tasks and had tightened communication and scheduling across the entire club. The Bears focused their digital transformation efforts on:
- Streamlining communication in a secure environment, moving from email and WhatsApp to Teamworks Messaging
- Improving scheduling efficiency and clarity, ensuring all training sessions, team events, medical appointments, and media obligations were centralized on the Teamworks Calendar
- Reducing time waste on paperwork and administrative tasks by sharing team documents in Teamworks Files, collecting all player forms and surveys through Teamworks Forms, and automating team travel planning with Teamworks Travel
In November, 2021, Teamworks staff interviewed Bristol Bears Team Manager and Teamworks SuperUser, Nick Fenton-Wells, to quantify the impact Teamworks has had on Bears’ players and staff throughout the year and to capture advice for other teams who can learn from the Bears’ successful digital transformation efforts.
Q: Prior to partnering with Teamworks, what were the major pain points you dealt with in regards to engaging with players and/or managing team operations?
A: We had a number of engagement, scheduling, and communication sticking points prior to partnering with Teamworks.
- Scheduling was done using an excel spreadsheet and travel was planned in Microsoft Word documents. This resulted in a large amount of paper waste over the year. The schedules also needed to be updated or redone to incorporate any changes or timings when trainings and meetings over ran – these changes would need to be communicated via Whatsapp which made the whole process very clunky and inefficient.
- Engagement, or getting players to provide feedback on various details, ticketing requirements, parking requirements for fixtures, details for flights, medical information, etc. proved to be problematic before Teamworks. Creating the necessary forms in third-party apps meant a lot of exporting results just to get the required details from the players and staff. Having Teamworks’ app allows us to do this in one streamlined process and also allows us to store the relevant information on file for each player and staff member.
Q: How has the adoption of Teamworks helped players the most? (What shifts, if any, have been seen from a preparation/stress/etc. perspective?)
A: Scheduling has had the biggest impact on the players by a long way. Being able to create appointments for individual players has meant that player engagement with media, medical, player development, and coaches has increased significantly. We’ve reduced the number of missed appointments and avoided clashes in the schedule. The everyday running of the club and the management of the players’ and coaches’ appointments, transitions, and meetings has become a lot smoother.
Q: How has Teamworks changed the dynamics between your players, coaches, and staff?
A: Players are finding time to book individual appointments with coaches, medical staff, athletic performance staff, and operations staff without any clashes occurring. It has allowed players to take full accountability when it comes to day to day operations and we can ensure that players are receiving all the right information to make the days run smoothly
Q: How much time have you saved by sharing and updating information digitally?
A: Vast amounts. It is difficult to quantify, but personally, my job has been made far more efficient with the use of Teamworks
Q: What processes have been streamlined since implementing Teamworks?
A: Travel, scheduling, data collection, and messaging have all been streamlined. Having a one-stop shop app that allows us to do all of this has really taken our efficiency to a new level.
Q: How has the Teamworks Calendar helped you solve the pain points you experienced in the past with scheduling? How many hours did you spend creating the schedule in the past vs now?
A: Again, it is difficult to quantify, but we save vast amounts of time being able to schedule and copy day to day if the weeks look similar. Creating travel schedules also allows for consistency in the way we travel. Players and staff do not like surprises and the more we can streamline and keep the schedule the same, the better.
Q: How do you communicate with your players? What types of messages/content do you send them?
A: For the most part we now use Teamworks Messaging. If we have a large amount of information that needs to be communicated we will send an email through Teamworks. When there is a change in schedule, using the text alert for attendees is extremely useful and helps us avoid having to send out numerous messages to communicate the changes.
Q: In what ways has TW become essential to the operations of your club? What advice (in a sentence or two) would you give to other clubs looking to optimize processes and streamline communication?
A: We run everything through Teamworks now. I struggle to think back to how we operated without it in the past. For those who are considering their engagement, scheduling, and communications within their club, I’d highly recommend it. We can streamline everything we do on a day-to-day basis through Teamworks, everyone in the organisation has the schedule on their mobile phones, and are all aware of where all staff and players are at any time of the day. We have our schedules broadcast on screens throughout our training facility, which means no one should feel unaware of what is on every day.
Q: What has been the greatest outcome of implementing Teamworks thus far, and what are some things you are excited to do with Teamworks in the future?
A: Personally without fail, updating players and staff profiles with the necessary information has been hugely beneficial. Drawing information I need is simple via the forms function on the app. Aside from that, the engagement through the app has been second to none. The amount of questions athletes had prior to us using Teamworks exceeded my expectations and since, the clarity we are able to provide through Teamworks has eradicated the numerous questions we used to get. Overall Teamworks has been an exceptional addition to our organisation.
Teamworks is the operating system for elite athletics, empowering more than 5,000 clients around the world to better connect and collaborate by simplifying their internal processes. Based in Durham, North Carolina, and founded in 2004, Teamworks continues to invest heavily in technology and expand the team to respond to the increasing customer demand. Organizations that depend on Teamworks to create a culture of communication and accountability include collegiate athletic departments across Division I, II, and III, professional teams in the EPL, Premiership Rugby, NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and more. Visit www.teamworks.com for more information.