Take This Simple $500 Action Step to Strengthen Culture at Your Small Business


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Ensuring that your employees stay motivated and satisfied with your company can be daunting, but it is vital. Motivated workers bring benefits that go beyond simple productivity.

Competition can be a healthy motivator. It doesn’t need to be slaughtered either. As a business leader, you should encourage friendly competition that shows team members that you not only want to maintain a positive and fun culture, but also listen to their ideas.

The following is an example of this type of competition and how any company can implement it.

The logistics of your competition

The Activity: A presentation contest in which employees propose an office expense that the entire company can use and that costs $ 500 or less (either for a single expense or assigned to multiple expenses). The winning team spends the money on their proposed idea. Examples could be a video game console for the living room, a ping pong table, meals with cooking, and so on.

One important thing to remember here is that every office is different. The rules on whether or not the winner can spend the prize money should be clarified from the outset.

Related: How to support introverted remote workers

The contest

Teams of two (or more) employees present ideas for submission to a jury made up of executives from different departments. Each team is presented for a time limit and the winner will be determined by both the votes of management and employees (teams cannot vote for themselves).

The time frame

You have to think carefully about the time period for several reasons. These reasons include the current workload, employee availability, and so on. However, announce the contest so that teams have enough time to complete their submissions before the day of the submission.

The competition should be announced one or two weeks away from the actual launch to generate excitement and anticipation. Team members also need time to form their groups and create fields.

Related: If running your business is hard for you, you are doing well. Here’s why

Benefits for your company

You may be thinking, “If I’m taking my employees away from their usual tasks, how does this benefit the company?” The answer may lie in the attributes for which you hired them in the first place.

Ideas. A throwing competition is driven by great ideas. And a contest like this is a perfect incubator for them.

Teamwork. The teamwork component can reactivate the performance of existing teams or mix things up by giving people the opportunity to work with someone new. The benefits of teamwork are numerous:

  • It encourages creativity.
  • Increases complementary strengths.
  • It builds trust.
  • Encourages healthy risk-taking.
  • It promotes a greater sense of ownership.

Encourage employees to show team spirit through things like team names, costumes, logos, and more.

Culture. The positive energy that surrounds competition like this does more than break the monotony of work: it benefits the company culture as long as positivity is emphasized. By offering to pay a prize chosen by the winner that benefits the group as a whole, contestants can give it their all knowing that, winning or losing, something positive is obtained by participating.

You can encourage participation by knowing that everyone is contributing something that could benefit the organization. In addition, teams that did not win may still have ideas worthy of implementation at a future date.

Related: How to build your business strategy in the face of uncertainty

Field day

You announced the contest, the teams worked feverishly in the fields, and now the day has come. Pitch Day is the culmination of everyone’s hard work and should be treated with the gratitude it deserves.

It starts with a celebration. After a while of eating and socializing, a brief speech from the organizers thanking all the teams for their participation can set an enthusiastic tone.

The launch. Gather in a place where everyone can see the fields. A large conference room could fit the bill or, if you don’t have one, clean up an open office space section so the audience can see and hear the fields comfortably. Here are some of the key materials you may want to provide:

  • Projectors
  • Laptops
  • Screens / Monitors
  • Whiteboards
  • Bookmarks

You want teams to be able to focus on their content, not incidents. Have both the judges and the audience ask questions after each release.

Judging. Judgment must be made when all teams have finished throwing. Both judges and the public can vote by secret ballot.

Results. Employees value the recognition of their managers, but the recognition of colleagues can be just as impactful. Let both the manager and peer input determine the winner.

Once the results are tabulated, announce the winner. Consider making it even more festive by announcing the results at a happy hour after the event. You’re likely to select the best from a field of many good ideas, so let the atmosphere have a “win-no-loser” atmosphere. It will give the winners the credit they deserve without denigrating the efforts of those who pitched good ideas but didn’t take home the trophy.

The award can be the cash prize itself, as well as a plaque or trophy that could be played at next year’s launch.

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When the dust dries

Everyone goes home after a day of creative fun, and you can rest assured that your team will arrive the next day with a renewed commitment to the company’s culture and mission.

The competition probably helped everyone get to know each other a little better or taught people something about their co-workers they didn’t expect. Plus, you may have been pleasantly surprised by a presentation from someone you didn’t expect. Not bad for the $ 500 they would have earmarked to help the company anyway.

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