A Marathon, Not A Sprint: What Mardi Gras Can Teach You About HR Strategy

March 5, 2019

It is well-known among New Orleans locals that Mardi Gras is unequivocally a marathon, not a sprint. Though Mardi Gras celebrations culminate on one final day (Fat Tuesday), the Carnival Season is jam-packed for weeks leading up to the big day with parades, parties, balls, and general revelry. If you are going to endure, you have to craft an infallible survival strategy, or you will likely find yourself passed out on the couch and missing all the fun.

The same goes for building a successful company. It is hard work and you’ve got be in it for the long haul. With success comes growth, and as a company grows, it must evolve. A major part of that evolution is in the hands of Human Resources. As a company grows, a proven HR strategy becomes more and more crucial to a company’s overall success. Without it, your company might soon become MIA and miss out on the party as well.

As strange as it sounds, you can learn a lot about HR strategy from Mardi Gras (yes, you read that correctly). As the famous Louisiana phrase goes – Laissez les bons temps rouler. HR professionals can learn a valuable lesson from the infamous celebration and help “keep the good times rolling” for their company for a long time.

Embrace Technology
An important part of Mardi Gras strategy is staying well-informed. As with most things, technology has made this easier. Introduced less than a decade ago, parade tracking apps are essential for planning thanks to the inevitable and unavoidable delays these giant parades often experience. Couple it with other helpful apps—for everything from traffic and weather to bathroom locators—technology can be a make-or-break factor in your Mardi Gras survival strategy.

Same goes for HR. Technology is here to make your job easier and more efficient. From hiring and onboarding to payroll and compliance, there is technology currently available to alleviate many of the manual processes typically associated with HR—saving your company time and money, while making everything more efficient.

Provide a modern benefits package
On the parade route, what distinguishes your setup from the countless others? What benefits and perks do you offer to keep you and your guests happy? Drinks and food (including Popeyes chicken of course) are essential, music makes everything better, tents and chairs make everyone more comfortable, and Mardi Gras ladders give kids the best vantage point.

For the most part, health, dental, 401(k), PTO, etc. are expected pieces of a company’s benefits package, so what unique and modern benefits can your company offer to attract the best talent and keep current employees happy? Flexible hours, work from home days, wellness options, maternity/paternity leave, student loan assistance, and profit sharing are just some of the possibilities for enticing a new, more modern workforce.

Invest in training and development
Practice makes perfect. Nobody runs their best time in their first marathon. And with every year, you can become a more of seasoned Mardi Gras pro—even from one parade to the next. Seek out the insights and experience of locals, learn from your mistakes and adapt, seek out new things, and ultimately, share your knowledge with others in turn.

In the HR world, training and development are two-fold and equally important—your company’s employees and yourself. Everyone needs to better themselves and continue learning, including human resource specialists. As the HR world shifts, the need to expand your knowledge of both traditional tasks and overall business strategy increases. Training and certifications not only enables better employees, but can also lead to higher pay and promotions.

Communication is key
As with most things in life, communication is key during Mardi Gras. First, communicate with your people—meeting times, avoid getting lost, etc. Second, you’ve got to be able to communicate loudly and clearly to the riders to score all the best throws. Be sure to make eye contact and shout, “Throw me something, mister!”

Likewise, communication is one of the most crucial elements of HR. Communication is a two-way street for HR specialists—whether it is explaining company-wide HR initiatives or listening to employees’ questions and concerns. Be sure to make yourself accessible to employees as often as possible and avoid using HR jargon that could alienate them.

Emphasize well-being
As with any marathon, you have got pace yourself during Mardi Gras. Stay hydrated and well-rested. Don’t over-exert yourself or you will find yourself passed out on that couch we mentioned earlier. Take care of yourself and the rest will take care of itself.

The same goes for your company’s employees. Physical and mental health issues are rightfully moving towards the forefront of health and labor discussion worldwide. Making well-being a cornerstone of your company through work-life balance and overall support. As an HR specialist, you are responsible for improving the well-being of employees and help minimize the negative impacts in the workplace.


Netchex is the leading HCM partner helping you improve workforce management and optimizing benefits for your employees. Our powerful, yet user-friendly technology simplifies the business of HR and bring self-service features to your company to provide more independence for your team.

Talk to us to find out how to put Netchex to work for your company. Take a look at our full suite of HCM solutions that grow with your business, including payroll, compliance, HR, benefits administration, and time & attendance, backed by experts and the best technology in the industry.