Organizational Wellness

Seven Employee Engagement Contest Ideas and Games to Boost Morale

Jun 6, 2023
Last Updated Jun 6, 2023

Keeping employees engaged is a challenging feat for human resources teams. Just 21% of employees are engaged at work, according to a2022 Gallup report. This lack of enthusiasm can lead to reduced productivity, increased absenteeism and turnover, and fewer innovative ideas. But when employees are engaged, they're more likely to thrive and contribute to a positive work culture.

To combat this engagement issue, organizations have implemented employee engagement contests that can provide an opportunity for team building, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Not only do these types of contests encourage collaboration and camaraderie, but they can also help employees feel more valued and connected to the organization. You can reward employees with tangible prizes like gift cards, giveaways, or extra time off to further motivate individuals to participate.

Let's explore seven great employee engagement ideas you can do with your employees. The best part? You can choose from both in-person or virtual options depending on your work environment.

Stepping Into the Future of Work.png

  1. BINGO Games

BINGO is commonly used for workplace team building and engagement. Everyone knows how to play it, and it’s very customizable. You can design a game that meets your specific engagement goals. For instance, you could create work-related cards focusing on customer service tasks such as responding to customer emails or helping a particular number of customers in a day.

You can also incorporate BINGO into an engagement contest. You could, for example, do workplace safety BINGO where each square encourages employees to take a safe action or task. Or you could do wellness BINGO, where each square represents a healthy activity!

There are a few ways you can give out prizes for BINGO. You could give an award to the first person who reaches BINGO, or you could pick a winner randomly from all the people who completed their five squares. You could even award prizes for employees who complete the entire BINGO card.

  1. Team Trivia Contests

Trivia is a fun way to engage employees in an interactive contest. Not only can it foster teamwork and friendly competition, but it also encourages problem-solving skills and knowledge sharing. By hosting a trivia challenge, teams can use their collective wisdom to answer tough questions and have fun while doing so.

Companies can host a trivia challenge in various formats, such as virtual or in-person team meetings. For example, you can create a virtual meeting space or whiteboard with Zoom or Google Meet where participants can join and compete against each other. Alternatively, companies could host an on-site event where teams can compete in trivia challenges in person.

When planning a trivia challenge, try to come up with questions that employees will find interesting and slightly challenging but not too difficult. If the questions are too hard, employees may lose interest. You could even ask your employees questions about company culture or history, or major pop culture phenomenons and sporting events that are likely to be common knowledge.

  1. Volunteering Competitions

A volunteering competition can effectively build team spirit and give back to the community while promoting social responsibility and corporate citizenship.

This contest encourages employees to participate in volunteering activities of their choice and document their efforts through pictures or short write-ups. To host a workplace competition for volunteering, consider sharing a list of local or virtual non-profits with employees so they have a place to start. You can even offer resources or tips for volunteering to employees who have never volunteered before.

Employees can select projects that interest them and document their volunteer efforts. Then at the end of the competition, you can select the employees with the most volunteering hours to win. You can also pick the employee who made the biggest impact (e.g., the employee who raised the most donations for a non-profit or recruited the most volunteers) to win an additional prize.

  1. Costume Contests

Costume contests are a playful and engaging fun activity to boost employee morale and cultivate team spirit. They foster creativity while allowing employees to show off their unique personalities and feel seen.

Companies can host costume contests in a variety of ways. For example, you could set up a virtual contest where teams submit pictures or videos of themselves dressed in costumes. Or you could host an on-site event with creative themes like “Superhero Day” or “Famous Historical Figures” that encourages employees to dress up within the theme.

You can offer prizes in different categories like the best individual costume, the most on-theme costume (if there's a theme), the funniest costume, and the most creative costume.

  1. Team Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts are a great way to foster collaboration and friendly competition while encouraging problem-solving skills. In addition, they can help to develop team spirit and promote creativity. Team scavenger hunts can be held in person or virtually, depending on whether your workplace is remote or in-office.

For an in-person scavenger hunt, teams can be given a list of items or tasks they have to collect or complete within a designated area. You might consider restricting the task to just your company buildings, or you could have employees go to different locations in the local area. If you do have employees go outside the office, make sure it's within an accessible distance, whatever that means to your specific teammates.

To host a virtual scavenger hunt, give teams a list of tasks that must be completed within a certain amount of time. Tasks could include finding objects around their house, like a favorite mug or book. Or you could have them send a pet selfie or a working selfie. Virtual scavenger hunts require employees to send in pictures of all their tasks or collected items, so try to ensure all employees have access to a camera, like on their computer or smartphone.

You can award prizes to the team who completes their tasks and collects all their items first.

  1. Random Acts of Kindness Challenge

Random Acts of Kindness challenges are fun contests that can boost generosity and bring the workplace together. They encourage employees to step out of their comfort zone, and they can help foster a culture of empathy and kindness.

There are different ways you can set up a kindness challenge. For example, you could set up a challenge where teams perform one generous act each day for two weeks. Or it could be a contest where employees have to perform an act of kindness a number of times in a certain period, like five times in one month.

Acts of kindness can include anything from donating old items to a local charity or helping out another team member with a task. As teams complete tasks, they should document them with photos or short write-ups so everyone can see their progress.

At the end of the challenge period, prizes can be given to the team who completes the most tasks or makes the biggest impact in their community. This impact could be in terms of donations made or hours volunteered.

  1. Step Challenges

Step challenges are an excellent way for companies to foster healthy competition and engagement among their employees. Wellness challenges, like a step challenge, encourage employees to stay active, which can help boost morale, energy levels, and productivity in the workplace.

Companies can easily implement step challenges using third-party fitness tracking apps or step-counting devices. Employees can use their devices or apps to track their steps throughout the challenge period.

The time frame of a step challenge is entirely customizable depending on your goal. Challenges could range from one week to several months in length. If you hold a months-long challenge, consider awarding top steppers at the end of each month to incentivize employees to stay engaged.

You can provide leaderboards on a Wiki page, internal-only social media page, or via email so that employees can easily see where they stand relative to other teams in the challenge. At the end of the challenge period, you can give out prizes to individuals or teams with the highest total number of steps or the highest average daily steps taken throughout the challenge. 

Wellness Programs Boost Engagement Too

These contests and games are great ways to boost morale, encourage collaboration and camaraderie, and increase employee engagement. By pairing these activities with wellness initiatives, like an employee fitness challenge or a meal prep challenge, you can further engage employees while promoting healthy habits in the workplace.

And there are many reasons to add a wellness program to employee benefits. Not only do wellness programs boost engagement, but they can also help increase retention. In fact, 85% of workers said they would be more likely to stay in their role if their company prioritized their wellbeing.

Do you want to learn more about how wellness programs can boost engagement? Reach out to a Wellhub wellbeing specialist today!




Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


Our weekly newsletter is your source of education and inspiration to help you create a corporate wellness program that actually matters.

By subscribing you agree Wellhub may use the information to contact you regarding relevant products and services. Questions? See our Privacy Policy.