One of the things that businesses like to do when times are tough is create contests. It’s a way to generate some buzz, get people motivated, and hopefully increase sales. That is – when contests are done properly.
Competition is a delicate thing. If not handled correctly, competitive activities (like contests) can have the opposite effect on your workforce. Here are 4 things to keep in mind when you are looking at workplace contests.
- Think carefully about who will be involved. As an HR Pro, I can’t develop a contest and include myself in the mix. Even though chances are I won’t win…it’s the perception. Same with the members of your leadership team. Consider whether or not they really need to participate.
- Clearly define the rules. Tell people what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen. Then make damn sure you meet those deadlines and guidelines. If you say that results will be posted daily, then you need to post them daily. If you don’t, be prepared to hear your employees whispering in the cafeteria that the results are rigged.
- Don’t play favorites. Example of a common contest in hotels is promoting a special bar drink. Servers might win something if they sell the most Cosmopolitans or Margaritas. So (as a member of management) if I was to have a beverage at the hotel, I needed to make sure that I wasn’t influencing the contest results by requesting a certain server.
I also needed to refrain from making comments that would predict the contest result. Things like “Andy’s bar sales make him a favorite” can be de-motivating to other employees.
- Lastly, remember the purpose of the contest. If the purpose of the contest is to increase liquor sales, then make sure the rules align with achieving that result. If you create a competition that’s nothing more than a popularity contest, not only will you not achieve the desired result but people will not want to participate in future activities.
That being said, I’m all for contests. When they’re done right, of course.