Employee Engagement ~ 13 min

Getting Your Workforce Involved: Employee Engagement Contest Ideas

HR Team, People Experts, Sociabble
HR Team People Experts

Boosting employee engagement carries with it numerous benefits, from increased productivity to greater profits and CSR involvement. So it’s no wonder it’s a goal most companies work into their comms strategy. But what is the best way to increase engagement rates?

Well, there are various methods, but one time-tested approach is a good old-fashioned contest. It’s effective, it’s measurable, and most importantly, it’s fun! Here are a few fun contest ideas for getting your employees engaged with company updates and news. 

What is employee engagement? And how do you encourage employees to get involved? 

A good place to start is probably with the definition itself. What is employee engagement? Well, engagement is a vital element in the success of any organization. It’s about more than just job satisfaction—it’s about creating an environment where employees feel passionate about their work, connected to their company, and committed to contributing to its success. 

The benefits of having engaged employees are numerous. Engaged employees are more informed, more productive, more aware of the competition, and more loyal. And the benefits carry over. Companies with engaged employees consistently perform better, with increased profits and reduced turnover compared to organizations where employees are uninformed and disconnected. But what’s the best method for getting employees more involved with company news and updates at your organization? 

One unique, effective, and fun way to enhance engagement is through contests. Contests not only break the monotony of the daily routine but also foster a sense of camaraderie, encourage innovation, and provide a platform for employees to showcase their skills. They can be a powerful tool to motivate your team, and this blog post will explore the benefits, organization, and innovative ideas surrounding engagement contests.

employee engagement contest ideas

A little healthy competition can go a long way.

So contests are a good place to start when it comes to boosting engagement among your workforce. But what are the specific positive outcomes you can expect to achieve from getting your staff involved in a little friendly competition? Well, engagement contests can bring a multitude of benefits to your organization. Such as? To start, how about they:

  • Can Boost Employee Morale: Contests can add a fun element to the workplace, breaking up routine tasks and boosting employee morale.
  • Encourage Teamwork: Many contests require employees to work together, promoting cooperation and team building activities, and fostering a stronger sense of community.
  • Promote Creativity: Employee engagement contests that involve problem-solving or idea generation can stimulate creativity and innovative thinking among employees.
  • Enhance Skill Development: Contests can be designed to help employees develop and showcase their skills, contributing to personal development and job satisfaction.
  • Increase Productivity: A more engaged and motivated workforce often leads to increased productivity, as employees are more invested in their work.
  • Improve Employee Retention: Engaged employees are less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere, reducing turnover and recruitment costs.
  • Strengthen Employer Brand: When employees are engaged and satisfied, they’re more likely to speak positively about their employer, helping to strengthen the company’s brand and reputation.
A staggering 95% of employees prefer a gamified work experience. Furthermore, 30% of employees find game-based learning more engaging, leading to increased productivity and focus at work.Source : Zippia

How to organize an employee engagement contest.

So… at this point, you’re probably wondering: But how do I organize a contest? What’s involved in getting it up off the ground and making it a success? The short answer is that organizing an engagement contest to generate a little friendly competition involves careful planning and execution. If the right amount of thought and strategy doesn’t go into it, it usually won’t be a success.

Here are some steps to guide you in encouraging a competitive spirit, and to help make your contest a hit:

  • Identify the Objective: Determine what you want to achieve through the contest. Is it to foster team building, boost morale, or encourage creativity?
  • Decide on the Contest: Based on your objective, choose a contest that will resonate with your employees. It could be anything from a scavenger hunt to a charity fundraising workplace competition.
  • Set the Rules: Clearly outline the rules of the contest. Make sure they’re fair, transparent, and easy to understand when teams compete. 
  • Communicate Clearly: Announce the contest to your employees well in advance. Use multiple channels – emails, team members meetings, and bulletin boards to ensure everyone is aware.
  • Create a Timeline: Set a start and end date for the contest, along with any other important deadlines. This gives participants enough time to prepare and keeps the contest on track.
  • Choose a Reward: Decide on a reward that’s attractive yet appropriate. It could be a trophy, certificate, gift card, or even an extra day off. Consider having each team member write what reward they prefer. 
  • Promote Participation: Encourage all employees to participate in your workplace competition and make sure the contest is inclusive. The more people participate, the more successful the contest will be. 
  • Evaluate and Announce Winners: After the contest, evaluate the results based on the criteria you’ve set, and announce the winners in a celebratory manner.
  • Ask for Feedback: Post-contest, ask for feedback from participants to understand what worked well and what could be improved for future contests.

Categories to consider when thinking of a challenge.

But it’s worth thinking about: What kind of engagement are you trying to generate? What sort of challenge do you think your workforce would respond to? After all, you know them better than anyone else. Creating an engaging work environment isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. It requires creativity and an understanding of your entire team’s unique interests and motivations. Here are some innovative workplace contest ideas to help boost engagement in your organization:

Idea Generation Contests

Encourage your employees to think outside the box by hosting an idea generation contest. This could relate to improving a product, streamlining a process, or enhancing customer service. Not only does this give employees a platform to share their creative solutions, but it also allows them to contribute to the company’s growth directly.

Fitness or Wellness Challenges

Promote health and wellness in your workplace with fitness challenges. These could range from step-count workplace competitions, yoga challenges, or even healthy recipe cook-offs. By focusing on wellness, you’re showing your employees that their wellbeing matters, which can significantly increase engagement and job satisfaction.

Social Media Engagement Contests

In our digital age, social media contests can be a fun and interactive way to engage employees. Whether it’s posting photos of their workspace, sharing industry-related content, or participating in a branded hashtag campaign, these contests can boost not just internal engagement, but also your company’s online presence.

Team-Based Problem-Solving Contests

Team member based contests are a great way to foster collaboration, team building, and team spirit. Consider setting up a problem-solving contest where teams work together to tackle a company-related issue or a fun challenge. This not only improves communication and cooperation but also helps the entire team feel more connected to their colleagues.

Sales Teams or Customer Service Contests

For sales or customer service teams, consider contests centered around meeting or exceeding targets. This could be tied to the number of sales made, customer satisfaction scores, or the amount of positive feedback received. Recognizing and rewarding these achievements can greatly motivate employees and encourage continued high performance.

Remember, the best contests are those that align with your company’s culture and values while also catering to the interests of your employees. So don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box!

employee engagement contest ideas image

A few ideas to get you started.

Maybe some exciting ideas are already coming to mind, based just on the categories discussed above. But if you need a little help, here are some time-tested ideas that many companies have experienced success with. Feel free to adapt them and make them your own!

  • Office Scavenger Hunt: Organize an office scavenger hunt where employees have to find hidden items or complete specific tasks. This can be a great way to break up the workday and encourage teamwork. You could even make it a recurring event, with different themes each time. Costume contests can be incorporated using the theme. 
  • Charity Fundraising Workplace Competitions: Divide your office into teams and set a challenge to raise money for a charity of their choice. This not only fosters team building and team spirit but also contributes to a good cause, making employees feel good about their involvement. 
  • “MasterChef” Lunch Contest: Encourage your employees to showcase their culinary skills by hosting a “MasterChef” style lunch contest. Employees can bring in their best dishes, and everyone votes for their favorites. This can also be a great way to celebrate cultural diversity at global offices, if employees choose to bring dishes from their native countries.
  • Caption This Photo: Share a funny or unusual photo related to your work environment and ask employees to come up with a creative caption. The best or most hilarious caption wins a prize. This can be a great way to inject humor into the workday and get people interacting.
  • Office Decoration Workplace Competition: Whether it’s for Halloween, Christmas, or a random Tuesday, an office decoration contest can really liven up your workplace. Employees can decorate their cubicles, doors, the break room, or entire departments. You could even set a theme for the decorations to add an extra layer of challenge. Costume contests can be worked in as well.

Remember, the goal of these fun contests is to create a more enjoyable and collaborative office environment. So, keep things light-hearted, ensure the activities are inclusive, and most importantly, have fun!

When it comes to engagement, the right platform can help.

Strategy and planning are both important, but the right tool can help, too. And luckily, there are solutions out there that can help generate engagement. Sociabble, for example, is a comprehensive employee communication and engagement platform that can be an excellent tool for organizing your engagement contests. Here’s how:

  • Centralized Communication: With Sociabble, you can make announcements, explain rules, and provide updates about the contest all in one place. This ensures everyone has access to the same information and keeps communication consistent. At the same time, targeting features allow you to pinpoint a specific audience if you need to, by team, department, office, etc.
  • Easy Participation: Employees can easily participate in your contests directly through the platform, making it convenient and user-friendly. Even frontline workers can get involved via the Sociabble app on their own mobile devices, in a secured and compliant way. And with instant real-time translation available in over 60 languages, global employees will have equal access.

employee engagement contest ideas

  • Rewards System: The platform has a built-in rewards system, allowing you to easily allocate points and badges to winners. This can add a gamification aspect to your contests, increasing participation and excitement. A leaderboard allows you to follow the progress and recognize the leaders.
  • Feedback Collection: Post-contest, you can use Sociabble to gather feedback from participants. This can help you understand what worked well and what areas need improvement, thanks to a simple survey feature that comes with ready-to-use templates.
  • Analytics: Sociabble provides detailed analytics, helping you measure the success of your contest and providing valuable insights for future planning. It’s easy to see what actions actually generated engagement, and what was less effective.

Sociabble’s gamification features make the critical difference.

Gamification–that is to say, the ability to turn an event into a friendly and healthy competition that boosts engagement–is one of the hallmarks of the Sociabble platform, and one of the most effective tools out there for getting employees more involved.

This is what Défi Wind has set up to engage 1,400 windsurfers and their thousands of followers around the world over a three-day event.


With Sociabble, for content relating to special events, a campaign can be created. Campaigns are not only a way to highlight content, but also offer an added value in terms of engagement, as employees can be rewarded a higher number of points when engaging with campaign content. In addition, content pertaining to a specific event can be compiled into a “Challenge”, in which all points collected through relevant actions are aggregated into a separate, time-limited leaderboard (more on that next), meant to unify the workforce towards a common goal.


With Sociabble, employees can gain points for sharing content and social media posts. Every action performed on Sociabble (linking, sharing, commenting on content, etc.) rewards employees with points accordingly. These points are translated into the form of a leaderboard, which provides a clear picture of who the company’s top ambassadors are


Another part of Sociabble’s gamification framework includes the badge system. End-Users are recognized for their efforts with badges rewarded for milestones achieved on the platform (e.g. creating 10 posts).

However, the badge system can be extended beyond the realms of the platform with the help of custom badges. Custom badges can be created and awarded for achievements outside the platform and can be customized in terms of look and feel. An option lets employees give custom badges to other employees on predefined rules.

CSR Actions: Sociabble Trees & Support My Cause

The chance to give back to society and help the planet can be a great way to motivate employees to engage. With Sociabble, your workforce can receive physical rewards in the form of trees planted on their behalf to reforest the world and fight climate change in compensation for their engagement on the platform.

Employees and companies have access to their forest and can share their forest view externally onto their personal Social Networks. They also have access to their calculated CO2 footprint reduction. And with the “Support My Cause” feature, employees can also nominate and vote on a cause to support, and that can easily be incorporated into the reward system. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!

sociabble trees

Sports Tournaments

Employees love sports, and with Sociabble, it’s easy to make major sporting events part of the action. When there is a major competition, like the football world cup or the rugby world cup, Sociabble gives you the ability to deploy special challenges centered on the event. The employees will be able to predict scores, guess winners, discuss in chat rooms, and win points based on their answers. At the end of what should be a fun and healthy competition, you can reward the winners with prizes of your choice. 

In short, gamification makes a critical difference. By leveraging Sociabble for your engagement contests, you can streamline the process, boost participation, and increase employee engagement. It’s all built into the system, empowering you to foster healthy competition.

Contests & the right digital tools can have a positive impact on employee engagement. 

In the quest to boost engagement and increase employee involvement, contests offer an effective and fun way to do both. Engaged employees are what make a company productive, efficient, and stable, and contests help to generate positive engagement. It is that simple.

Sociabble is the employee communication platform that comes with a wealth of features to boost engagement, including a number designed to promote contests and encourage healthy competition.

We’ve already partnered with global leaders like L’Occitane, the Renault Group, and Coca-Cola CCEP to enhance their internal communications, and we’d love to discuss ways we can help your company, too. Just reach out and sign up for a free, personalized demo. We’d love to chat!

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