As you begin to open up your office after all this COVID stuff — you’ll be looking for a way to get your team motivated. Try running a competition in the workplace. A friendly contest helps make work fun and will spur your business forward, leading to higher efficiency and increased profits.

Not all contests are created equal. You’ll need to do some careful planning and grab hold of your Calendar to make workplace competitions a fruitful endeavor. Here’s how it’s done:

Aim for a Goal

A workplace competition is only worth your time if you’re able to reach a goal because of it. Now this goal can be anything from motivating your employees to a revenue increase for the quarter, depending on what your organization hopes to accomplish. Just remember to set goals that make sense.

The SMART goal formula is a useful one for creating a goal to center your competition around. The acronym goes as follows:

  • Specific – A vague goal doesn’t incite much progress.
  • Measurable – Make sure your goals are tangible. Wanting to motivate your employees is a great goal, but how can you tell when you’ve accomplished what you set out to do?
  • Achievable – While you might want to shoot for the stars, it’s better to aim for something within reach. The perfect goal is a challenging one but also one that is realistic.
  • Relevant – A goal without a purpose isn’t very useful. Make sure the goal you select is relevant to what your team or company is struggling with at the present time.
  • Time-based – An open-ended goal can be easily procrastinated. To catapult your team forward, use your Calendar to set each goal within a certain time constraint to act as a deadline. Don’t make the competition run for too long or it could get stale.

Your goals can be two-sided, focusing on your team on one hand and your company on the other. For example, your competition can be based on how many sales your team can close by the end of the month. This will help you achieve a company goal of increasing revenue by X percent by the same deadline.

Make Sure Competition is Friendly

The point of a workplace competition is primarily to increase productivity in a short-term window. However, friendly competition can also have long-term benefits by helping employees draw closer together. When competition starts to divide coworkers and teammates you have a serious problem on your hands.

Consider holding regular meetings to track the progress of the individuals or teams participating in the competition. Use this time to celebrate successes, even among competitors. This will provide some motivation to the group as well as unite participants in their efforts. After all, at the end of the day, you’re all apart of the same team.

Another way to unite employees in the same cause is to include an overall goal with a shared prize. Let’s say you set an individual goal for club membership sign-ups, where each employee is ranked by how many sign-ups they get from customers. While there are individual prizes up for grabs, you can also offer an even bigger reward if the team as a whole can reach a collective goal.

Put Thought Into the Prizes

Don’t put together a competition with lame prizes or worse, a surprise that you still haven’t come up with. The light at the end of the tunnel is a strong motivator for your team to dig in deep into the competition. Their efforts should earn them a nice reward as well.

Prizes should be worthwhile but nothing that will strain your company budget. A new computer, exclusive rights to the best parking spot, or sporting tickets can all be enticing incentives. You know your team best, so pick rewards that motivate them the most.

Consider preparing gifts for everyone who participates in the competition. Losing can be discouraging, even in a friendly competition among coworkers. A small consolation prize will keep their spirits afloat until they can get back in the saddle and go full-throttle once again.

Make Adjustments Along the Way

From start to finish, set some checkpoints in your online calendar to gauge the progress of your team and the effectiveness of the competition. During these checkpoints, look for ways to make improvements. You don’t have to settle for original plans, especially if they don’t pan out as you intended from the start.

For example, a couple of weeks into your workplace competition you might realize that the goal you set is too lofty. Don’t be afraid to change the end goal to make it more feasible. A goal that’s clearly out of reach won’t do much in the way of motivation anyway.

Gather Feedback and Regroup

Workplace competition will only work if it resonates with your team. Instead of motivating it could easily discourage employees who feel frustrated by their progress or don’t respond well to competitions.

Before launching a workplace competition, talk it over with your team. See if there’s any interest in a contest before throwing one their way. Bring it up in the next group meeting you have scheduled in your Calendar to discuss your plan and hear their opinions.

You should gather feedback during and after the competition as well. Scheduling one-on-one time in your online calendar allows you to connect with each team member to get their uncensored opinion on how the competition is affecting their work. A group survey afterward will determine if the plan worked and what you can do to make it a better experience next time around.

Start looking at your team’s performance metrics before and after launching a workplace competition. Those numbers will show you how well the competition is doing in motivating your team and boosting your profits.

Image Credit: mica asato; pexels