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Two colleagues talking about the state of March Madness during work.

March Madness: The Road to Employee Engagement and Culture Building

As we enter the final few weeks of March Madness, I would venture a guess that two things have probably occurred. One, for those who participated, your brackets are no doubt a sea of red X’s (and if not, consider purchasing a lottery ticket); and two, your organization is curious about how sports competitions, like March Madness, impact employee productivity, employee engagement and culture-building.

The ActivTrak Productivity Lab is uniquely positioned to help you answer these very questions. Heading into the Final Four weekend, we analyzed daily digital activity for more than 6,000 employees at 545 companies across two distinct time periods — March 6-10 (pre-March Madness) and March 13-17 (March Madness) — and supplemented it with sentiment survey data from 150 employees to see what happened. What we found was that non-work-related activities like employee brackets go a long way toward building valuable workplace connections and camaraderie without impacting productivity – whether you actively participate in them, nor not.

As they say, teamwork makes the dream work, and who doesn’t want to build a championship team? Regardless of which school colors you root for, it’s worth considering what steps you can take to proactively drive employee engagement and cultivate a healthy, productive culture at your workplace.

What We Saw in the Data

Productivity Lab Tips:

  • Intentionally nurture culture-building through targeted events (big and small)
    • In today’s business environment, your organizational culture is often your greatest source of sustainable competitive advantage. Remember, small interventions often have an outsized impact on employee satisfaction
  • Foster cross-functional connections and camaraderie to enhance collaboration and communication
    • Strong personal relationships are what turn efficient workflows into high performance. Sponsoring activities that bridge the functional divide can help foster a greater sense of camaraderie and enhance cross-functional collaboration and communication
  • Encourage visible, senior leadership participation as a force-multiplier for culture-building
    • Whether it’s an updated Slack profile picture to reflect your alma mater, or donning school swag during video calls, active participation from trusted leaders can be a force multiplier for culture-building. Remember, your talent is your organization’s value creator
  • Develop a broad and varied set of culture-building events to drive interest and inclusivity
    • As the data indicates, there’s residual value in these kinds of events, even for those who don’t directly participate. But sports events should not be the only lever you pull. Provide space for a variety of employee-owned and -planned initiatives throughout the year. A sterile work environment and culture runs counter to the innovation required for organizations to thrive

About ActivTrak and The Productivity Lab

ActivTrak helps companies unlock productivity potential. Our award-winning workforce productivity and analytics software provides expert insights that empower people, optimize processes, and maximize technology. With data sourced from more than 9,000 customers and 250,000 users, ActivTrak’s Productivity Lab is a global center for ground-breaking workforce productivity research and expertise that helps companies embrace and embody the future of work.