Attract & Retain Top Talent with March Madness

Attract and Retain Top Talent

Whether you’re a college basketball fan or not, March Madness is upon us.  And guess how much money companies lose from distracted employees filling out brackets, surreptitiously streaming games, or “getting sick” so they can take a road-trip to watch their alma mater play?  Corporations lose $6.3 billion due to unproductive workers during the three-week period of March Madness.  Yeah — thats billions with a “b”.  

Below is a very cool infographic that gives more interesting statistics on the socio-economic impact of March Madness.  But I want to draw you attention to one that I find the most interesting:  90% of workers agree March Madness office pools help build camaraderie. 

This reminds me of my time in the Marine Corps, when I learned a leadership concept called “Esprit de Corps”.   The French phrase means “spirit of the body”.  The deeper meaning is a feeling of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by members of a particular group.   

And whether working as a top association and conferences keynote speaker or business transformation consultant with Fortune 500 companies, I often share practical knowledge and takeaways on how building “Organizational Esprit de Corps” can fuel-inject peak performance.  

So during March Madness when billions of dollars in corporate losses are GOING to happen no matter what, how can you take advantage of this annual occurrence to build organizational esprit de corps and ensure your team, local branch, or company creates closer bonds, fosters pride, and deepens loyalty that helps attract and retain top talent?  

Take Action Now:  (1)  Embrace the tourney — if 90% of workers agree office pools build camaraderie, then what are you waiting for?  Set up a fun, motivating, and innovative office pool right away.  (2)  Instead of asking employees to contribute money so only one person wins, ask them to commit a few minutes of their time to fill out a bracket.  Perhaps take the team out to lunch or happy hour so they can fill out the bracket — make it fun, engaging, and inclusive. (3)  Reward and acknowledge OFTEN.  Now, this is not to be done in the competition-crushing spirit of “everyone gets an orange slice and participation trophy”.  Quite the opposite.  Come up with camaraderie-building rewards to be handed out weekly or every Tues/Thurs such as extra time off, movie tickets, gift cards, lunch with the boss or other significant executive, or the latitude to take 30-minutes a day to work on a special project of the employee’s choosing (that’s how Gmail was created, by the way).  Have viewing parties — within reason — during work hours (they’re going to watch anyway), after hours, and on weekends.  Have one sales team compete against another for the best bracket.  Or, have one branch office compete against another.  

The next three weeks is an excellent opportunity to attract and retain talent by building camaraderie, organizational pride, and loyalty with your current team.  Imagine the long-term impact on the bottom line when employees are coming to work early and excited because they enjoy being around their colleagues.  What are the HR cost-savings when your rising stars recommend fellow rising-stars to join your company?  No more paying high-priced executive search firms to find talent when you have an organic, internal high-quality employee referral program.  And the best for last — loyalty.  To build a loyal group of engaged, creative, and energetic employees is, literally, priceless…

If you need help coming up with unique and motiving March Madness rewards, or you have some great ideas of your own to share, leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @mpveltri.   I’ll be sure to get back to you right away.  Learn more at


Source: WalletHub