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August 30, 2011

Fantasy Football = Increase in Engagement?

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Work/Life Balance — Tags: 1:36 pm

At the risk of revealing myself completely as a novice, I will admit I had no idea until a couple of years ago how much fun fantasy football can be. I used to think that participation in fantasy sports was reserved for people (read: men) who enjoyed spending hours creating a perfect draft list. They gathered around in the host’s living room to choose their individual teams.  The advent of online leagues has made selecting your perfect team almost a no-brainer. As of 2008, the number of participants had grown to 27 million, with 20 million of that choosing fantasy football as their sport of choice.

Considering it is estimated that participants will spend an average of nine hours per week perfecting their team’s lineup, it is not surprising that many companies believe participation in fantasy football is a huge productivity drain. Although about half of companies simply look the other way, some choose to block those websites completely.

However, for those of you like me searching for a business reason to justify your fantasy football league, I present the results of a Challenger survey conducted in 2010: fantasy football does not negatively affect productivity! (I’ll give you a moment to reread that sentence before moving on.) I’ll go one better: the study also showed that companies who support or encourage fantasy football leagues could see increased retention as a result. Participating in these activities can also encourage networking and camaraderie among employees who otherwise wouldn’t choose to socialize.

Many of you are looking for lowand no-cost benefits to increase retention and engagement. Create a company fantasy football league. You might be surprised who signs up!

Tips and Ideas:

  • Eliminate the concern with gambling by offering prizes for the winners. Prizes don’t have to be just for the team with the best record – give prizes for the best team name, most original “smack talk,” etc. (Check with your attorney and tax adviser to be sure the value does not create additional concerns.)
  • Host a draft party after work. Invite participants to bring football themed snacks and drinks – drafting is hard work! (Take into consideration any possible liability issues with having the draft on-site at your company or at an off-site location.)
  • Allow employees to wear their favorite team colors or clothing representing their favorite teams in place of the usual “Casual Friday” attire.

Links for more information:

Challenger Gray: Study Finds that Fantasy Football Does Not Sap Workplace Productivity

NFL.com Free Fantasy Football

Yahoo! Sports Free Fantasy Football

Fantasy Team Names Tips

It’s not too late to create a league – the season starts September 8th… And to my fellow league opponents: watch out! I’m due for a winning season in 2011!

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