HR’s View on March Madness Office Pools Will Surprise You

March 9, 2015

Selection Sunday is right around the corner and college basketball lovers are already getting the itch to fill out those March Madness brackets. And not surprisingly, one of the most common ways to make a prediction is an office pool in the workplace.

Bracket participants will likely invest work time tracking their brackets against colleagues. Yet, according to a 2013 poll from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the majority of HR professionals see office pools as having a positive impact on relationship building. Sixty-four percent say they promote team building, and 54 percent say they increase employee engagement.

The survey polled 355 HR professionals from a randomly selected sample of SHRM’s membership.

Other office pool highlights:

  • No harm, no foul: Most employers (81 percent) did not have policies regulating office pools. That compared to 67 percent of employers in 2010.
  • All-star event: The NCAA college basketball tournament was among the top events for which organizations reported having office pools in 2013 (36 percent).
  • Out of bounds: Most policies that address office pools include “prohibition of gambling that includes monetary exchange in the workplace” (70 percent), “disciplinary action (not including termination for failure to comply with policy” (69 percent), and “prohibition of any form of any form of gambling, including office pools” (66 percent).

The full survey is available online at:

To read the full press release, please visit:

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Vanessa Gray of SHRM Public Affairs at 703-535-6072 or



Hire the best HR talent or advance your own career.

Member Benefit: Ask-An-Advisor Service

SHRM's HR Knowledge Advisors offer guidance and resources to assist members with their HR inquiries.

SHRM's HR Knowledge Advisors offer guidance and resources to assist members with their HR inquiries.



HR Daily Newsletter

News, trends and analysis, as well as breaking news alerts, to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day.