It’s that time again – March Madness and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The time when working on company spreadsheets gets bypassed for working on the perfect bracket. When talk at the water cooler is about upsets and last second shots rather than closing deals and operational efficiency.

Recent reports estimate that $1.2 billion dollars of corporate productivity will be lost for every hour that employees work on selections and brackets at work. Everyone knows that this rite of spring is impossible to stop.  So wouldn’t it be better for your company to build corporate engagement through employee activities relating to the tournament rather than wondering how to prevent the inevitable?

Smart companies will find ways to create internal events that leverage the competitive spirit of the tournament. Read on for some simple examples that convert the fun, excitement and involvement of the tournament into ideas that can stimulate conversation and relationship-building activities in your company.

  1. Get Charitable: Disperse tournament teams to various divisions of your organization and build a can drive around the dollars the company will contribute to charity for total points scored during the tournament. Or pit departments against each other in fundraising competitions that lead to an eventual winner.
  2. Call out your company MVPs: Predict the most valuable players of the tournament and build a most valuable player game in your company around this premise.
  3. Bring the madness to your intranet: Develop intranet gaming that pits regions against each other in industry, or competitive knowledge games that mirror the four brackets of the tournament.
  4. Get your office active: Build departmental rivalries through hallway skills courses.
  5. Office crossover: A good team knows all aspects of the game, not just their sole duty. Create teams across departments and build training programs that are rewards based and that challenge the entire ”field” of contestants to get through levels of learning brackets. This could increase awareness and appreciation among colleagues.

By creating an experience within the experience, you can leverage the best three weeks in sports to your company’s advantage. Let us know what other clever ways you could use hoops madness to stimulate employee engagement!