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New study: March basketball pools improve office camaraderie and employee engagement

A new survey finds March basketball brackets and office pools can improve key workplace initiatives, including employee engagement, camaraderie and work satisfaction. The study by Randstad US, one of the largest HR services and staffing companies in the United States, found nearly 9 in 10 workers (89%) agree office pools help build better team camaraderie and 58 percent completely or strongly agree. The findings also point to other positive outcomes, particularly when it comes to Gen Z and Gen X.

Some facts:

  • 84 percent of workers agree office pools go a long way to make their jobs more enjoyable (91% of Gen Z; 88% of Gen X)

  • 79 percent of employees agree participating in office pools greatly improves their levels of engagement at work (85% of Gen Z; 84% of Gen X)

  • 73 percent of workers agree they look forward to going to work more when they participate in office pools (82% of Gen Z and Gen X)

  • 50 percent of employees meet up with coworkers after work to watch a college basketball game in March (58% of Gen Z; 53% of Gen X)

  • 39 percent became closer with a coworker after participating in an office pool (58% Gen Z; 41% Gen X)

When it comes to the impact on worker productivity, the study found 76 percent of employees checked scores during work hours and 53 percent watched or followed sporting events on their computers while at work.

"While many employers fear a loss of productivity due to the distraction of office pools during the college basketball tournament season, our findings suggest the potential short-term distraction in the office may actually be a win for employee morale, engagement and satisfaction in the long-term," says Jim Link, chief human resource officer at Randstad North America. "Given the heightened competition for talent and the need for organizations to improve employee engagement and collaboration, our study indicates the significance of socially connecting with peers to foster deeper connections and boost employee morale."

For Love or Money?

Interestingly, the Randstad survey found the motivation for participation is not the potential to make money. The study found 83 percent of workers who have participated in a college basketball pool said their love of sports is the main reason they participate. Comparatively, 75 percent said their main reason is to win money.

Other findings from the study include:

  • 41 percent of workers say they have participated in college basketball brackets in their offices

  • More men than women participate in college basketball brackets in their offices (53% of men; 29% of women)

  • The average amount of money contributed to an office pool by employees is $22.44

  • 81 percent of workers who chose not to work the day after watching a March college basketball game called in sick

Survey Methodology

Research findings are based on an OmniPulse survey fielded by national polling firm Research Now on behalf of Randstad US. The survey was fielded between from February 20th, 2017 and February 24th, 2017. It included 1,200 respondents over the age of 18, and a nationally representative sample balanced on age, gender and region.

About Randstad

Randstad North America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Randstad Holding nv, a € 20.7 billion global provider of HR services. Through its unique talent delivery approach, Randstad combines human touch with digital HR technologies to secure and manage a workforce of more than 100,000 people for thousands of clients each week.


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