March Madness can be great for employee engagement. In March of 2000, the tournament was heating up. The trash talk between our New York and San Francisco offices was flying. Who would win the March Madness Bracket had consumed both offices.
We would check the scores, shoot off emails (this was way before Facebook). Our offices were worlds apart, but March Madness helped us bond.
When we all finally met, we had deep context to our relationship. Friendships formed, and morale boosted.
But what about productivity?
CNBC reports that March Madness could cost employers $4 Billion in Lost Productivity. With all that lost productivity and distraction, why would any business want to allow employees to take part in an office pool?
I'm going to share five reasons why your company should create a March Madness office pool:
1. It's part of our national fabric
A 2014 article at Smithsonian.com shared that close to 60 million Americans are "filling out brackets." Assume that your employees entire social circle, no matter what the social economic background will participate in March Madness.
2. You can't stop it.
With so many millions of American workers taking time to enjoy the tournament, the train has left the station. Even the president of the United States has filled out a March Madness Bracket. Your employees will too. Trying to curtail such a popular social activity could damage morale in a serious way. This damage could reduce employee engagement, and outweigh any increased productivity.
3. It's fun and that's good.
A 2014 Gallup poll states that 70% of US workers are not engaged at work. Cutting loose at work may seem counterproductive. But It's a much needed ingredient to engaged and productive employees.
4. How we feel at work matters
Another Gallup poll states that "the most highly engaged business units are 21% more productive." When we feel secure in the workplace, our productivity increases.
Further adding to the benefit is the cross socialization of employees, especially at larger companies. Employees who wouldn't encounter each other are now thrust into a relaxed social situation. This increases engagement can be powerful, and contribute to lasting team benefits.
5. The bigger your company, the more you need March Madness
The gap between small and large companies is profound when it comes to employee engagement. Gallup states that "Employees in large companies less engaged than in smaller ones." Adding that "Investing in employee engagement can lead to greater profit."
So what does it all mean?
It's time to embrace March Madness in all it's glory. So go ahead create that company wide office pool, pick your bracket and enjoy. You may just end up becoming more productive because of it.