This article was guest-authored by Małgorzata Olszewska, Marketing Manager at workai.
Fun fosters creativity and learning, arouses curiosity, reduces stress and helps to build positive relationships, so many companies try to include it in their everyday business life. Designed in the form of a competition or an activation action, it can bring measurable benefits and it does not have to be complicated – you can carry it out using the basic functionalities of an intranet (e.g. comments or forms). What goals are you able to achieve this way?
First of all, those related to the intranet itself. We can help employees learn about its functionalities and use it more efficiently. This is especially important when introducing a new platform and when publishing new features. Or if we want to encourage employees to visit the intranet more often, the contest can be a discreet way to show that in addition to participating in the competition for an award, everybody can find useful information there and actively engage in the life of the company.
Secondly, it’s a great way to share knowledge, increase interest in what’s going on in the company and keep your finger on the information pulse. Thirdly, it is a good support for employee engagement and integration, as well as assistance in creating concrete solutions and ideas to meet important business challenges.
Fun activities need support of efficient technology. Workai, an intelligent Digital Employee Experience platform provides a set of tools that empower internal communications, people engagement and knowledge management. It can be a great environment where a contest can be organized. Additionally, its functionalities can make such an action even more engaging and it can stay in the memory of employees for a long time.
The idea of…
When you clearly define the area in which competitions can help, then it is time to consider what form they can take. Here are some interesting ideas:
- Objective – to support the acquisition of knowledge
New product, procedures, legal changes? When employees need to acquire and consolidate new knowledge, you can offer them a competition in which essential part is to find correct answers to questions important for a given change. This will increase their motivation to get to know the subject and consolidate the new information. What’s more, it will mobilize them to analyse the company’s knowledge base in greater depth, and a well-designed and transparent platform will surely attract their attention, not only for the sake of the competition, but also for a number of occasions later on.
- Objective – building of the company’s brand together
Here you can think about, for example, photo contests. They help to create a database of photos that can be used in the intranet, presentations, social media, calendar, or posters. Additionally, the winners will undoubtedly be proud of the fact that their talent and effort have been awarded in such a unique way. In this pleasant way we engage teams to co-create corporate communication.
- Objective – to support knowledge sharing
Sometimes you feel that the exchange of knowledge between employees leaves a lot to be desired. One way to motivate people to share knowledge is through competitions to reward for publishing expert articles. When selecting winners, we may take into account the number of publications, the number of impressions by unique users or rating given by readers. Such a form can be a good support in creating a knowledge base and expert database. And the whole action is also a reminder that they can always access the knowledge base and easily find internal experts if they need consultation.
- Objective – integration around the project
Probably many of us are more involved in the realization of goals when we have a group of cheering fans next to us. The feeling of such support may also be useful for e.g. sales teams. When they see how many people believe in their success and keep their fingers crossed for them, they will feel even more willing to realize their ambitions. It is enough to invite support teams to play, in which they will predict the results, e.g. sales volume, and reward those whose answers will be the closest to the actual result. And a reward may be, for example, an additional points on the winner’s profile on internal platform.
- Objective – gathering opinions and choosing the best solution
Wondering which benefit (maybe a gadget, equipment or a party) will appeal to employees the most? Just ask a specific question or present a cafeteria of ideas, and thanks to the answers you receive you can get a valuable insight into the topic you are interested in. And with an effective internal communication platform, all employees can express their opinions, not only those from headquarters. For example, the sales network, which is rarely in the office, can vote in a mobile app. It’s an action that gives employees the feeling that the company takes their opinion into account and that they have a real impact on the company culture regardless of where they work from.
- Objective – positive relations
We cooperate better if we feel that we are not working with robots, but simply with people, which is why it is so important to get to know each other. Competitions where employees share their interests or what they like can help. They don’t have to be big or complicated subjects. For example, we can offer them to share their favourite recipes and publish a company cookbook from this material. A highly personalised campaign is a good idea to promote the intranet after it is implemented. It can help break the ice and convince employees to use the new tool.
- Objective – unconventional ideas, improvements, innovations
It is enough to invite employees to share solutions responding to a specific business challenge, and the results of such a brainstorming exercise may surprise us. On the crowdsourcing platform on the intranet, employees can create banks of ideas, build project teams, dedicated mentors moderate the discussion and the sponsor (e.g. the management board) chooses the winning idea. Here it is worth considering group awards, which will further strengthen teamwork and knowledge exchange.
- Objective – promoting intranet
Employees may need to be encouraged to look more often into internal communication channels, or those who read content but are not involved may need to be activated. Then the entire intranet can become a competition, and points can be awarded for carrying out the activities we care about. Points can be exchanged for prizes, e.g. company gadgets. What is more, in the long run, the collected points may be part of the criteria for promotion.
Remember that the prizes should be adjusted to the specificity and difficulty of the tasks. Ideally, it should be something unusual or something that is difficult to organize on your own. They do not always have to be material objects. A good idea may be a lunch with the CEO, a parking space, a mentoring programme, an internal internship in another unit or an extra day off.
Keep this in mind
At the beginning you need to clearly and precisely define the goal (it is best to talk about it with the managers and jointly choose the areas and topics that are most important for them) and then ask the question whether a chosen form is the best choice and whether it fits the realities of the company.
You should approach competitions and activation actions with exceptional caution, because the outcome may turn out to be far from your intentions. Instead of involvement and integration, you may encounter disappointment and moods decline, because as a rule, not everyone will win, and obviously no one likes to lose. We also risk that the internal motivation of employees to perform certain tasks will decrease and they will expect additional benefits later. Employees may also feel offended by the competition formula (if it is too infantile) or proposed rewards (if they are not adequate to the effort put into the task). These are very sensitive issues that need to be considered strategically.
You also need well-designed, clear and transparent rules of procedure (consulted with the legal department). It is essential that you specify, among other things, the prizes and their number, the recipients of the competition, the rules of participation and selection of winners, and the duration of the competition. It is important that it is described in such a way that everybody has a feeling that the action you are carrying out is fair.
If we take all these aspects into account, we will undoubtedly make wise use of the intranet competition or activation campaign for the benefit of the company and employees.
workai is a new generation of Digital Employee Experience Platform. Its main goal is to improve internal communications, knowledge management and employee engagement, with the aid of mobile technologies, IoT and artificial intelligence. The exceptional user experience offered by Elastic Cloud Solutions’ products was acknowledged by Nielsen Norman Group with the Best Intranet Design Award, as one of the TOP 10 in the world.
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