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Why Employers Should Embrace March Madness


As the nation prepares to head into the next rounds of the NCAA College Basketball Tournament later this week, much of the initial “madness” surrounding the tournament has subsided.  

With only 16 teams left, however, the stakes have gotten higher and the anticipation and excitement will only continue to grow.

But it’s not just coaches and fans that are anxiously awaiting the results of the tournament. Employers are also wondering how all the hype and excitement surrounding the tournament will impact their operations and employee productivity levels.

Last year estimated that more than 60 million Americans fill out a March Madness bracket each year. And outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates that as many as 22 million Americans working in the private sector participate in pools conducted (either officially or unofficially) at their place of employment. The firm also contends that each hour these employees spend perfecting their brackets or watching games while at work will cost employers $552.6 million in lost employee productivity.

In the past we’ve covered how employers can combat losses in employee productivity. But while these numbers may have some employers itching to ban office pools and the mention of March Madness altogether, G&A Partners’ director of Corporate HR Bonnie Scherry says “not so fast.”

“While some employers may experience a dip in employee productivity during March Madness, there are certainly benefits for organizations who take advantage of the possible opportunities to increase employee engagement during the tournament,” Scherry said.

Benefits of Embracing March Madness In The Workplace

  • Increased camaraderie and employee engagement
    “The tournament really encourages employees to talk and engage with other employees. They learn about common interests they may share, which helps build relationships across departments and locations. It also gives management a topic of conversation to discuss with employees to better get to know them. Casual conversations like these can lead to other conversations about business that might not have otherwise happened.”
  • Equal chances of winning, regardless of your place on the organizational chart
    “Employees at all levels compete on the same level in our bracket challenge. And employees always get a kick out of it when their team “beats” an executive’s favorite team or they score more points than their manager. Again, this helps foster relationships across the organizational chart and creates opportunities for conversation that may not have happened otherwise.”
  • Giving all locations a chance to get involved
    “Many companies who have multiple locations, especially those with locations all across the country or the world, struggle to create opportunities or activities that engage employees in all offices. A bracket competition, office pool or similar activity that is conducted virtually allows every employee to participate, regardless of location.”

“G&A Partners has whole-heartedly embraced the NCAA tournament. We organized a company-wide bracket contest, arranged a tailgating-themed office potluck lunch, encouraged employees to dress in their team’s colors, decorate their desks and even have our employees engaged on our social media pages promoting their favorite teams,” Scherry said. “We’ve also set up a TV in the break room for employees to watch the games during their lunch breaks.”

She also said that she believes any decrease in productivity as a result of the tournament is temporary and offset by happy employees.

“Employers should ask themselves whether they want to be known as the company that tells their employees they can’t participate in March Madness activities,” Scherry advises. “In the end, employees will still watch the games on their phones or tablets whether their employers approve or not, just like many employees still access social media sites even though they’ve been instructed not to do so.”

G&A Partners, one of the nation’s leading professional employer organizations (PEO), has been helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses, take better care of their employees and enjoy a higher quality of life for over 20 years. By providing proven solutions and technology in the areas of HR compliance, employee benefits, payroll administration and workplace safety, G&A alleviates the burden of tedious administrative tasks and allows business owners to focus their time, talent and energy on growing their company. Learn more about how G&A Partners can help your business by visiting or calling 1-800-253-8562 to schedule a free business consultation.

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