I don’t know about you, but it has always been the same for me; I created contests to help improve sales, I held meetings to communicate these great contests and I saw a jump in sales for the first week. After a week the sales started to flatten out and by the end of the month my employees were not engaged anymore and the sales were back down to where we started. I was frustrated with the process and stopped creating new contests. Then a few months later I would try again with new found optimism but unfortunately with the same results.
I believe in employee recognition and I want to recognize my employees for a job well done, but execution is difficult. After speaking with a number of business leaders in the community I knew that I wasn’t alone.
We have implemented 5 ways to keep employees more engaged in workplace contests and the results have been excellent.
1. Have an updated leaderboard- you know, the spreadsheets that are posted on the wall. These leaderboards are only as good as the person managing them. You know the accounting term garbage in, garbage out? Well the same applies here. If the leaderboards do not get updated frequently your employees will lose interest fast. Have the person in charge of the contest update the numbers daily.
2. Clearly communicate contest rules and goals- the only way employees will be able to hit their goals if they know what their goals are. Have a meeting before the contest starts to clearly define contest rules, contest goals, and contest rewards. Use handouts as well as posting this information for all to see.
3. Have a short contest period- Lots of contest usually last a month or more. As contests get longer it becomes harder to maintain employee engagement. If you have 4 weekly contests instead of 1 monthly contest more employees have more chances to win. That keeps them engaged.
4. Have contests with multiple winners- Lots of contests are based on 1 winner, which means that everybody else loses even if they achieved their goals. Once the leader pulls out in front the others will most likely lose interest. Another approach is to have a “goal based contest,” where everybody who achieves his or her goal is rewarded.
5. Offer Meaningful Rewards- Create rewards that your employees want or else they won’t care. Create prizes based on your employee’s suggestions. Not everybody is going to like the same things so have multiple prizes to choose from. Also, deliver the reward as soon as the employees redeem them. The contest program will lose credibility if you take too long to deliver the reward.
Focus on these five things and watch your employee engagement and your sales increase.