6 Ways to Get the Most from Your 1st Work Competition

StartYou’ve got options to motivate positive behaviors in your workplace, but let’s just face it: Competition is the most fun. (Or so the company that specializes in it says.) Plus, by tapping into an employee’s competitive nature, you can create long-lasting changes in their behavior. That is, as long as you know what you’re doing.

So, if you’re a new customer coming on board with LevelEleven, we’ve compiled the following six best practices for you. They’ll get you off on the right path toward maximum results.

1.) Run 7 days hidden, 7 days live

There’s no better way to understand the effects that competition has on your team than to test it. We’ve found that it works best for managers to hold a hidden contest – one that nobody other than management actually knows is happening – for seven days. This allows you to set a baseline of metrics to compare against. Then “Clone” the contest, which will expose the contest details and leaderboards to your team. We’re telling you right now: You’ll see immediate changes in employee behavior once your team enters competition mode. It’s not uncommon for even typically disengaged employees to become more active in their work immediately.  (Download our hiredMYway white paper for the story of one organization that found this to be true.)

2.) Narrow your focus

It happens more than you think: Managers realize just how many behaviors they can motivate by bolting our competition app on top of salesforce.com and try to motivate all kinds of behaviors via contest #1. We get it – it’s tempting because you want salespeople to make calls, book meetings, create opportunities and close deals. But don’t give in and try to motivate all of them at once. Pick the one behavior you need to “nudge” right now, and focus your competition accordingly. Then you should maintain that simple focus for contests that follow, as well; choose only between one and three behaviors to motivate per competition.

3.) Don’t stress over incentives

It’s eerily consistent how unimportant the incentive or prize is if you run a work competition correctly. It’s not the prize, but the competition and the team energy it creates that motivate people. That being said, especially with your first competition, you don’t need to give away travel packages or large financial incentives to create results. We’ve seen organizations reach even beyond contest goals using incentives as small as bragging rights, milk and cookies and, in our case, a Macho Man figurine. (For more on that, check out: “It’s the Small Things, (Sales Incentives Included)”)

4.) Make it a fair game

Don’t forget to take advantage of our ad-hoc points feature. If you’re putting a sales rep who’s been at your organization for 20 years up against one who started last week in a competition for booking client upgrade meetings, your newbie is going to go into it with frustration. Don’t introduce them to gamification that way. Give them, and anyone else with an unfair disadvantage, 10 points before the competition even begins and allow your team to compete at the same level.

5.) Keep it top of mind

Notifying your team about their first competition should not be a one-time thing. To get the most from any contest, you should help your workforce to keep it top of mind throughout the entire period it’s running. This means recognizing current leaders at meetings, but also making sure to leverage our daily leaderboard email update and Chatter post. (While our leaderboard is updated in real time so people always know where they stand, it’s still good to get it in front of them in other ways.) Then to take it up a couple notches, you can also take advantage LeaderTV, which will live stream contest standings for everyone to see and get those office flat-screen TV’s to work.

6.) Encourage Chatter

Friendly trash talking will do more than simply tap into your employees’ competitive nature: It will elevate it. And Chatter is the prime place for that, so encourage your team to use it. Our app will automatically create a contest Chatter group, so get yourself active in there to fully engage the team. Then as they engage each other deeper into the competition, they’ll be strengthening internal communications and improving Chatter adoption, too. (Read our case study on Chatter adoption.)

If you have tips of your own on the topic of building work contests, we’d love to see them in the comment section below.

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