As HR analysts and research firms quantify the loss in employee engagement during March Madness, RiseSmart, the leading provider of next-generation outplacement solutions, not only embraces, but encourages these office pools during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The company today launched its second RiseSmart Challenge, a March Madness “office pool” for transitioning workers who are using its flagship outplacement solution, Transition Concierge. The program serves as a fun way to help unemployed workers take a break from the job search and enjoy an annual rite of American office life.

“The RiseSmart Challenge was a huge hit last year,” said Dan Davenport, co-founder and vice president of operations at RiseSmart. “While research may indicate these office pools reduce office productivity, that doesn’t mean there aren’t positives that come from this annual source of workplace banter. Colleagues often form stronger bonds through the comradery of cheering on their favorite teams and ribbing their office-pool competitors. Our RiseSmart Challenge gives unemployed people a chance to experience that same sense of fun even while between jobs.”

The RiseSmart Challenge is open to the thousands of transitioning workers currently in the Transition Concierge program. Participants can access the RiseSmart Challenge tournament bracket online; top prognosticators will receive special recognition and significant prizes.

“In our six years of helping put Americans back to work, we’ve found that the unemployed find work faster when they treat their job searches with a sense of adventure and fun. We try to create an atmosphere that encourages this positive approach,” Davenport said. “The RiseSmart Challenge is a fun way to lift the spirits of workers in transition and energize them for the real challenge ahead – re-entering the workforce.”

A 2012 survey conducted by MSN found that 86 percent of all American workers will devote at least some time during their work hours to watch the basketball games. RiseSmart encourages companies to embrace this annual tradition by enacting a program that builds interpersonal relationships across the organization and instills a sense of belonging and fun. Banning pools in an attempt to prevent lost productivity during the tournament is generally ineffective and can result in reduced morale.

The RiseSmart Challenge not only gives Transition Concierge participants a chance to have some fun, but presents an opportunity for RiseSmart employees to build a stronger bond with the individuals they’re helping to place in new jobs. “It’s a win-win,” said Davenport. “We help job seekers have fun during their searches, but in the process we have fun too.”

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About RiseSmart

RiseSmart is the leading provider of next-generation outplacement solutions. The company leverages a cloud-based technology platform, proven methodologies and one-on-one support to help employers with their workforce strategy, and displaced employees with their career strategy. RiseSmart drives significant ROI to organizations by offering affordable pricing while reducing unemployment insurance taxes and severance costs. RiseSmart has received a wide range of awards and recognition from organizations including Bersin by Deloitte, the Best in Biz, Gartner Inc., the Golden Bridge Awards, LAROCQUE, the Momentum Index, Red Herring, the San Francisco Business Times, SiliconIndia, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, the Stevie Awards and TIE.

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for RiseSmart:
Woody Mosqueda, 408-993-9113

11 March 2013

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