Sunday, January 17, 2016


Holding a contest is a great way for you to bond with your department and to inject some positive excitement into your staff. You can use the contest to learn more about their group dynamics, to build a stronger team, and to attain your required numbers. Announce your intentions to your staff at your weekly meeting.

Do not depend on your own good judgment when deciding on rewards. Why? Here are typical fails made by well-meaning managers: Handing out chocolate covered peanut candies or instant scratch lottery tickets. Oops! Is someone allergic to peanuts? On a diet? Diabetic? Observing a religious fasting period? And the lottery ticket  might be unacceptable to the winner’s moral stance.

Rely on your staff to advise you what  rewards are acceptable and desired. Phrase your questions in such a way that you do not single anyone out. You might state you were thinking of offering a specific treat, but wondered if you should, since it contains nuts, or sugar. Or you could ask whether the group thinks lottery tickets are an appropriate prize.

Typically, some of your staff will want immediate gratification, and some will enjoy a larger reward that takes longer time to achieve. Be prepared to provide both. As an example, you could offer smaller, incremental rewards for a shift or a week, and also larger rewards for the month or even the quarter.

Be especially aware of the metrics you choose, since you will get more of whatever you measure. You will  learn quickly whether the contest is successful in rewarding the intended behaviors. You will also learn quickly what inadvertent loopholes exist in your metrics. It is best to start off with a fairly short-term contest, so that you become aware of unintended consequences sooner rather than later.

Remember: You are always the ultimate winner of any successful contest you hold! 

Jeannie Newman, Chief Solutions Officer of JZN Associates, is an experienced creator of many contact center contests, across several different industries. She is available to  advise you on your contests, and to save you from pitfalls both obvious and hidden. Find her and connect with her on LinkedIn or at

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing that Jeannie Newman. So often it seems that not everyone likes what we like or values the same things that we do. I've seen it time and time again, People forced to go on a work outing 'for fun' or gifted with candy when they don't eat it. I hope this brings forth some awareness.