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Engage Employees With Outcome Oriented Challenges

Updated: Jul 29, 2022

Employee achieving a milestone
Image by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

There is a lovely African proverb, “Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors”.

Life comes with several ups and downs. And it's those bumps that allow us to stretch beyond our perceived limits and grow. It is also relevant to our workplace.

Giving meaningful goal-driven challenges at work positively impacts employees' behaviour & helps them grow. Challenges can be a delightful way to engage and encourage your team. It's a technique to gamify employee experience & get more done.

Challenges make tasks that appear tedious and uninteresting more stimulating. It accomplishes this via four simple elements, which we shall cover later in this article. This activity enables people to achieve more in their personal, professional, and communal pursuits.

Types of Challenges

Personal Growth

Personal challenges help individuals break barriers and achieve more on a personal front. With social progress sharing & appropriate incentives, people are motivated to put in the required efforts. For example, most people want to stay healthy (& it also improves productivity). Setting up a daily step challenge or a calorie burn challenge can be an engaging way to motivate people towards a healthier version of them.

Some areas where personal challenges can work are:

  • Health and fitness

  • Pursuing hobbies

  • Learning and applying skills

  • Enhancing personality

It's best to learn from people about their personal goals or bucket list items to plan personal challenges.

Business goals

Most roles have defined goals for measuring performance (& incentives). However, these are often lagging metrics (ex. revenue) related to business performance. With this, we tend to miss out on focusing on leading metrics that relate to input (ex. # demo calls).

Setting a business goal challenge can aid the organization's focus on efforts critical to business success. They will encourage the employees to work on tasks that may not provide instant gratification but will help drive business impact.

Business challenges may include:

  • Input metrics that drive actions to achieve success with goals

  • A new skill that your team should learn to advance.

  • An exploratory project or research that the team isn't able to prioritize

  • Non-mandatory tasks which get slipped away due to a lack of motivation

Business challenges achieve a dual goal of employee engagement while getting more done for the business. It may uncover some hidden treasures.

Community help

Psychology relates personal satisfaction & happiness to community service. Typical business responsibilities do not lay a clear path to benefiting the community. Encouraging employees to participate in community initiatives delivers a significant boost in employee morale & engagement.

With Community challenges, leaders can

  • promote employees to participate & contribute to the company's CSR plan

  • get people to volunteer at non-profits for a related cause

  • identify and cultivate ambassadors for community participation

For the program's success, allocate dedicated work bandwidth for participation in community challenges.

How are Challenges different from Competitions/Contests?

There is a subtle difference between giving challenges versus running contests. Challenges should be designed for individuals to push their limits & achieve more. They are contests against themself rather than against a peer. When challenges are executed socially in front of teams, an individual's progress motivates others. The goal set for completing a challenge should be an absolute metric, independent of the performance of other participants.

Common use-cases

Performance enhancement

Employee performance tops the priority list for employers. There are several methods leaders use to boost employee morale & performance. In addition to direct KPIs or OKRs, challenges can help motivate employees to achieve near-term projects or goals. Challenges also aid in driving better results in learning & development initiatives. Bringing social visibility & gamification to performance-related challenges improves collaboration & teamwork.


Research has proven the benefits of a healthy workforce on business success. Healthy people are more creative, deliver higher productivity and take fewer unannounced leaves.

Well-being-focused challenges are now popular in workplaces. Our workstyle has become more sedentary in the remote model. It has led to people experiencing health issues, weight gains & exhaustion.

Regular well-being-focused challenges can help people build habits to prioritize their health. It benefits people in all aspects of life and has a long-term impact on business success.


Talent assessment is a complex task. Job openings, on average, receive 250 applications. Adding skill-based assessments or challenge tasks has been popular in most technical roles. Challenges can make recruiting more efficient and produce better results. It may be utilized as a filtering tool, assigning particular and specialized tasks to candidates and making a selection based on their job-ready skills.

Adding challenges or activities to the job opening also filters out casual applications where candidates do not invest enough time to go through the process. They narrow down the initial filtering list, easing recruiters' jobs. As a result, recruiters can also spend time responding to genuine applications.

What to consider while giving a challenge?

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned the four aspects of building challenge activities. Let us expand on that.


It's important to learn about participants' motivations before framing a challenge. It will help you choose the right category and define appropriate milestones for continual progress. Make sure to seek input from your workforce and solicit feedback for such employee engagement activities. There can be multiple challenges targeted for different cohorts of employees run in parallel to engage the diverse pool.

Meaningful goals

People do not want to act like robots. To stay motivated, they require a sense of purpose for the work. By associating the challenges with a goal people can relate to, you can drive both engagement & outcome. It provides people with a clear path toward their growth & development.


For employees to participate effectively, challenges must include social engagement with gamified experiences. Allow people to accept a challenge, update their progress with the group, have scores or badges for intermediate milestones and maintain a leaderboard. Such gamification has proven to boost participation across several employee initiatives. It makes achieving a target fun instead of a mere task.


There is no denying the fact that incentives motivate everyone. It may be monetary or qualitative that people desire. When people are appropriately incentivized for their efforts, they make stronger commitments to achieving results. If the challenge requires an extrinsic motivator you should consider including incentives in the plan. Often business goals might fall in this category. People may be intrinsically motivated toward personal or community challenges.

Useful Tool

Revvi offers a free employee engagement tool with ready-to-use engagement & team building activity templates. One of the templates is specifically designed to run "Challenges" for teams.

You can create a challenge with multiple milestones and share it with your team to participate.

Social engagement is important to keep people motivated in challenges. Revvi's Challenges template allows for creating a shared social board.

Participants can share their milestone achievements by making a post with supporting information. A live leaderboard tracks how the team is progressing towards completing the challenge. People can access the challenge board & engage using any device.

A sample board for Fitness Challenge on Revvi's employee engagement tool
A sample board on Revvi for Fitness Challenge

Try it! Bringing social interaction & gamification to challenges has proven to draw high participation and engage employees effectively.

People love taking on challenges. It's what keeps us sane and motivated to achieve more. You just have to do it in a way that is inspiring, meaningful, social and rewarding.

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