Have you heard of this little show called Game of Thrones? Whether you watch it or not, with more than 17 million people tuning in, chances are you know someone who does. Or at the very least, even if you’re not a fan, you’ve likely been privy to the office water cooler chat that commences every Monday morning as of late.

Part of engaging your employees (and as a result giving your workplace culture a boost) is meeting people where they are. Pop culture, whether it’s a TV show, a sporting event, or a movie (Avengers anyone?), can be an effective tactic to work into your employee engagement strategy.

It’s been explored as a student engagement tool on college campuses and Game of Thrones specifically has even been called out for providing some valuable lessons on employment engagement.

Pop culture connects people by giving them something to talk about (and even debate, but in a healthy, non-politics kind of way) and ultimately creates bonds between employees who may not otherwise have shared interests. Recently, a few of my colleagues launched “Thrones and Scones” in our local office—a voluntary Monday morning gathering of employees at a coffee shop each week to discuss Sunday night’s GoT episode. By meeting up at 8am and holding it outside of the office, employees can still have an engaging conversation without losing productivity and taking away from the workday.

Activities like this promote team bonding, enhance the workplace culture and provide a platform for employees to interact with different people across the organization.

The Olympic Games are another example that can provide inspiration for bringing employees together around a common interest. Bonus: There’s plenty of lead time for planning.

Other pop culture events could include a March Madness bracket—either going the traditional route with actual college team brackets and a friendly wager, or our office hosted “March Madness Olympics” where the bracket was made up of employees going up against each other in various games (think: giant Jenga, rock/paper/scissors, water pong, etc.). The latter worked well because no basketball knowledge was required so everyone was inclined to participate. Anytime the playing field can be evened out in terms of not needing a specific skill or prior knowledge, employees will feel more comfortable participating and engaging with their colleagues.

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