When it comes to work contests, there’s certainly no shortage of spreadsheets and emails and white boards, decorated with rules and lists and rankings. And that’s fine – unless your communications become so complex that your team takes one look at those spreadsheets and emails and white boards and walks away. In that case, you shouldn’t even bother putting them together in the first place.
We’re not trying to sound harsh. After all, if your team has no idea what they need to focus on during a contest, how will they learn from it? Here’s the answer: They won’t. They’ll simply go back to doing what they did before. As a result, while you might still see a quick spike in whatever behavior that contest motivates, you’re not likely to see any long-term benefit.
The good news is that you can effectively manage all competition communications by following one guideline; at any given time during any given contest, just make sure participants have access to the following information…
1. What the overall goal is
What are you trying to accomplish with this competition? Do you want your team to take a new product to market to increase sales, or improve service to better customer retention? Any employee involved needs to know the contest’s purpose.
Is it the sales team competing against each other or the entire organization? Make sure participants can assess the competition.3. What the qualifying behaviors are
What exactly do participants need to do in order to get points or earn qualifying behaviors? For example, if the competition focuses on booking demos, what kind of demos? How should participants enter data into whatever system you’re using to track contest results? Specificity on these details directly translates to a strong competition overall.
4. How to win
What will it take for employees to actually win the competition? Is it just a stack ranking? Percentage to goal? Anybody that passes a certain threshold? Everyone should understand what it takes to actually win.
5. What the incentive is
What will the winner(s) get? Make it really clear what the incentive is, and get the team excited to win it!
6. How long the contest will run
When exactly will the contest start and end? Participants should always be aware of how much longer they have to get to the top.
Sure, some of this may seem obvious. The key, again, is just to make sure it stays front and center for your team. One way to do that is to print this off and use it as a checklist. Then when it’s contest time, remember to include these six points at the end of related emails or review them at meetings. You’ll ensure that your team never has questions about the details of a competition, which should be your goal. Because that’s what it takes for contests to breed long-term behavioral changes.
For more details, along with additional contest wisdom, check out the 15-minute recording of our recent webinar, “Run Contests That Salespeople Want to Win.” Or for more specifically on competition communications, read “Launching a Work Contest? Communicate it Effectively.”