March Madness will begin next week as the highly-anticipated NCAA tournament kicks off and employers are bracing for the inevitable drain on workplace productivity. However, recent surveys show that employers that embrace March Madness can improve employee retention and employee satisfaction.
“We suggest employers take a more modern approach to March Madness and accept that significant segment of the workforce will be spending time online between March 11-15 filling out their brackets,” according Collin Warren, partner in the Houston office of Fisher Phillips, a national labor and employment law firm. “Instead of prohibiting this activity, employers should enforce productivity standards in the days leading up to the tournament and during the games themselves.”
One idea is for employers to organize an optional workplace pool that requires no entrance fee. They could buy prizes with company funds and hand them out to the winners, turning what could be a problematic event into a morale booster.
Organizing a company pool will also create a positive team bonding experience that should aid in retention and employee satisfaction. A 2017 survey by Randstad U.S.found that 89 percent of workers reported that participation in workplace bracket contests “helped build better team camaraderie.” Other surprising and eye-opening statistics:
- 84 percent agreed that office pools go a long way to “make their jobs more enjoyable”
- 79 percent said that participating in office pools greatly improved their levels of engagement at work
- Half of the respondents meet up with coworkers after work to watch a college basketball game in March, leading to closer relationships
- 39 percent became closer with a coworker after participating in an office pool
“However, employers should keep an eye on the situation to make sure their workers don’t get carried away by organizing betting pools that involve cash prizes,” Warren added. “Additionally, employers should develop a policy on gambling in the workplace and enforce it consistently. Rather than fighting the inevitable we suggest employers embrace this new era and adapt a modern approach to March Madness.”