How you feel about work can affect your personal and professional lives in a big way. Dull, negative offices often have employees who are unhappy and therefore unmotivated. Likewise, positive, encouraging offices tend to have employees who are engaged and innovative. Incentive games for employees are a good way to keep things fresh and exciting and thus keep office morale and productivity up.
Most companies have a mission statement as well as important policies and procedures that their employees are expected to know. The challenge often comes when trying to encourage workers to memorize and follow this information. Playing games that test workers’ company knowledge can give them incentive to learn it. You can create free online trivia games or play "Jeopardy" at staff meetings. No employee wants to be exposed for not knowing enough about her employer, so that's incentive enough. But you can up the ante by offering prizes such as free lunch with the boss or a couple of movie tickets.
Many workers are motivated by recognition for their work and performance. Playing office games that show appreciation are good incentives for employees. For example, you might honor a handful of workers that you would like to publicly recognize by playing “Guess the Baby Picture.” Have the honorees bring in baby pictures of themselves. At the next office meeting, the rest of the staff guesses which picture belongs to which appreciation award winner. These kinds of games foster an environment of fun while showing appreciation to outstanding performers. They also give others incentive to improve their performances.
Most workers enjoy being part of a team. A team environment fosters collaboration and competition, both of which are valuable in the workplace. To give workers incentive to improve their teamwork and other skills, divide them into teams and have them compete in areas such as the highest number of sales, the lowest customer complaints or the biggest increase in customers over a set period of time. This allows you to encourage people to work together but still compete while having fun. Have a prize for the winning team like a pizza party or ice cream social.
Workplaces are becoming more diverse in many different industries, but some people may be apprehensive about or not see the value in a diverse staff. Playing games that promote diversity can give workers incentive to get along and value people from all walks of life. For example, play the "Proverbs" game. Create a list of proverbs from around the world and pair them with widely known and accepted American proverbs. Each pair should have a similar message and list what part of the world the proverb is from. For example, you might pair the American proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” with the Russian proverb “where something is thin, that’s where it tears.” Give each employee one proverb and then ask everyone to find the match.
Sydney Neely has worked in the education arena for more than 10 years, teaching general education, the arts, communication and finance. She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees from Arizona State University. Neely also holds several state and federal financial licenses in life insurance and investments (Series 6 and 63).