Every year, Salem Union Baptist Church organizes a competitive “Fun Day” for its staff, volunteers and congregation. Participants split into four teams, each wearing a different colored T-shirt branded with the church’s logo and team name. The teams compete in volleyball, dominoes, basketball, tug-of-war and other tournaments.
Create fun and team bonding!
“Our Fun Day brings a lot of camaraderie, fun and laughter to our congregation,” Sister Carolyn Nairn said. “It’s good to have a little friendly competition amongst ourselves every year! It’s a good time we look forward to.”
But the contest doesn’t stop at Fun Day. Throughout the year, the teams compete in a different realm. Certain neighborhood areas are assigned to street teams. Team members canvas their designated areas to check in on older community members and make sure everyone has access to food. These teams also supply underserved children with backpacks and school supplies.
The internal competition helps keep everyone motivated. It’s exciting for people to see the wins other teams achieve each month and get inspired to do more.
Competition cultivates engagement In some ways, Salem Union Baptist Church has hit the psychological jackpot. Research on the psychology of competition found that “good” competition drives individuals to accomplish goals and brings out their best. Teams that are engaged yield remarkable results, with productivity increasing by 14%, customer ratings by 10% and sales by 18%.
According to the State of the Global Workplace survey by Gallup®, employee engagement reached a record high of 23% in 2022. Contests and giveaways can help counter disengagement while building trust as teams work together toward a common goal. Contests also stoke the fire of competitiveness to boost engagement.
That’s especially important for hybrid and remote team members. Remote employees feel nearly two times (or 182%) less engaged than in-person employees. Virtual competition—from trivia to game shows to escape rooms—can address this gap and strengthen bonds among co-workers who don’t see each other often.
More fun, more friendship
Another organization focused on fun, Access Rehab Centers was on a mission to increase interaction and boost morale, fun and happiness among employees. The physical, occupational, speech and aquatic therapy provider in Waterbury, Connecticut, considered various workplace contest ideas before landing on an option that got the team’s creative juices flowing across the organization’s 12 locations.
“We used white T-shirts as a staff motivation project and tie-dyed them as a group/team,” said Donna Guerrera, senior administrative assistant. “Then we posted on our Facebook® page and asked patients to vote on which they liked best.”
Team members were given the T-shirts along with tie-dye kits and asked to get creative. Employee camaraderie immediately kicked in. “Tie-dye is a much more involved process than most people realize, so this ended up being a fun way for staff members to spend their lunch hours,” recalled Brian Emerick, president.
Pictures of the finished shirts were shared via social media, and followers were encouraged to vote for their favorites. Friends and family also shared the posts, adding to the fun.
After eight days of voting, 95 comments, 15 likes and seven shares—the winning team was chosen and bragging rights bestowed. For Access Rehab Centers, the tie-dye competition boosted social media engagement, encouraged greater patient interaction and helped team members have more fun together.
Contests and giveaways for the win
Workplace contest ideas can strengthen team bonds, boost productivity, foster greater engagement and more. As Salem Union Baptist Church and Access Rehab Centers demonstrate, work and play can go hand in hand.
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