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When Bosses Blow the Whistle on March Madness, Employees Head for the Exits

When Bosses Blow the Whistle on March Madness, Employees Head for the Exits

70% of employees say ‘embrace the madness’ policies would improve how they think about their employers

TEMECULA, Calif., March 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Strict bosses who turn the TVs off for March Madness today may also be turning off any chance of keeping employees who are thinking about leaving for greener pastures. 

In a recent survey of more than 700 workers by employee listening and people analytics company Perceptyx, 70% of employees said that easing restrictions on non-work-related media would change their view of their organization for the better. Nearly two-thirds of all employees follow the tournament to some degree, but more than half say they work at a company with strict policies on non-work-related media. A quarter has already received communications from their employer warning against March Madness activities at work. 

These restrictive policies clash with strongly held beliefs – among leadership and employees alike – about the benefits of a fun workplace. Some of the findings that support that: 

  • Four out of every five employees say that when they are having fun, they have more energy for work. 
  • Sixty percent of employees say that a workplace that isn’t fun would make them more likely to look for a new job. 
  • Employees of organizations who have March Madness team-building activities are twice as likely to say their company is a fun place to work. 
  • Nearly three-fourths of managers believe taking time out of a workday for fun is acceptable, as long as the work gets done.

“There’s a mismatch here between what people say about a fun workplace and what is happening on the ground,” said Director of Research & Insights Emily Killham. “Our research shows that fun workplaces lead to more engaged employees, yet a large number of people today are in workplaces where watching March Madness is still forbidden.” 

Some employees more likely to stay if March Madness is on at work

Most importantly for employers who want to avoid the high cost of losing employees in the Great Resignation aftermath, some employees are ready to leave when confronted with restrictive policies. Easing restrictions can have the opposite effect – one in 10 employees said that it would make them more likely to stay at their jobs in the long term.

“Our measures of connectedness are closely correlated with how fun employees report their workplace is,” said Killham. “That’s a sign to employers who want to retain talent that they have to plan better for fun, connection-building days like March Madness. The focus should be on how to build your team and engage those who want to follow the tournament, not on restrictive policies about watching a basketball game. You have to listen to your employees, and they’re saying that they can have fun and still be productive - and that the fun leads to greater productivity in the future.”

For additional details on the March Madness research findings, read our accompanying blog.

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