How do you organise a successful vitality competition?

Want to boost a vitality initiative by turning it into a competition? You probably remember those little jitters you got from a healthy battle with a friend or family member. You also want to give those jitters to your employees when they start your vitality initiative. A successful competition will make the motivation of all your colleagues skyrocket like a rocket. But how do you make sure the feeling of competition really comes alive within your organisation? From our experience of launching 1000+ competitive vitality initiatives, we have compiled 3 tips for you to organise your next vitality competition successfully.

Time to read: 5 minutes

How do you organise a successful vitality competition?

Remember that smile you might have got when a friend or acquaintance challenged you to a small low-threshold competition. "No, you really won't be home before me...". The battle is on. The friendly rivalry feelings made you feel extra motivated and would give everything to win this. Purely for the honour, of course. It remains a friendly competition. Whether it's a game of table tennis in the office or a healthy challenge with a family member. You naturally want to fuel that same excitement and motivation in your colleagues by making competition your vitality initiative.

Tip 1: Be as clear as possible 🎯

Imagine this: you launch a vitality competition in which employees are challenged to take the most steps over a certain period of time. But what does 'most steps' really mean? Is this about the number of steps during the working day or does it apply to the whole day? For some employees, this challenge might mean keeping their phone with them all day, while others deliberately walk extra laps during their lunch break. Or you might want to organise a challenge where employees are encouraged to bring healthy lunches to work. But what exactly is meant by 'healthy'? It might mean a salad for one person, while another thinks of a croquette sandwich with a piece of fruit.

Lack of clarity creates confusion

Once there is room for interpretation, each employee may deal with your vitality initiative differently. If some parts of the challenge are not described specifically enough, it can lead to confusion. It might even create slight frustration among the driven participants. For example, among the fanatics who are trying very hard to get the most out of the initiative. They may be eager to win. As soon as another colleague can come closer to winning by completing the challenge in a completely different way, this fanatic may feel that they have not been given a fair chance to participate. You want to avoid the "Yes, but if I had known this, then..." reaction. Especially since you want to keep the enthusiasts with your vitality initiative because you can put them to good use as ambassadors or coaches.

Lowering motivation

If the guidelines and purpose of your vitality initiative have yet to be clearly communicated to employees, this can also cause motivation to participate to drop among employees. Suppose you see that a colleague has the same amount of steps on the pedometer by keeping track of a phone throughout the day, the motivation to walk an extra lap in the break might start to drop among some employees. Ultimately, if motivation drops for a larger group of employees, your initiative may become less alive.

Harder to determine a winner

In addition, it is also difficult for you to pinpoint a possible winner at the end of the competition if the guidelines still need to be clearly defined. When all employees have dealt with the vitality competition differently, it is going to take a lot of time to put all these activities side by side and compare them. So it is important to provide a clear definition of the competition beforehand, as well as clear guidelines on when an employee has won a prize.

How to communicate clearly?

You can clarify and clearly communicate the challenges of your vitality initiative in various ways. An easy and logical way to do this is during the launch of your initiative. With an e-mail, a post on intranet, social media or with a physical poster, you can easily and clearly communicate all information and guidelines. Communicate clear instructions and criteria so that all participants know where they stand and what is expected of them. It may work to share the information two weeks before the start of your vitality initiative. By sharing the details of your competition a bit earlier, you can test what still seems unclear. You can adjust the announcement with all the feedback and questions you have already received. You can then communicate everything clearly to every employee during the kickoff of your vitality initiative.

By communicating the task very specifically and in detail, you also make the challenges more measurable. This is useful for you to more easily define a winner or multiple winners. Think about using numbers in your goal, such as the number of kilometres your employees will walk or cycle or, for example, the amount of grams of vegetables each evening meal will contain. Formulate the goals as specifically and measurably as possible. Give clear, measurable guidelines on what it takes to complete the challenge and how to win.

Tip 2: Pair a competition with a Hall of Fame 🏆

Remember when we were just talking about those competitive jitters? That whiff of competition sometimes gives you just a little more energy to persevere. Add this extra exciting element by using a Hall of Fame or challenge cup, for example. These kinds of tools allow employees to see how other colleagues or teams are performing. By making these achievements visually visible, you can give other employees a huge motivation boost. When they see their name or team shining at the top of the list or proudly holding the challenge cup, they feel recognised and appreciated for their efforts. This encourages them but also others to actively participate in the competition and put their best foot forward to move higher up the rankings.

More connection between teams

But this gives extra motivation not only to avid sports fans. A well-designed Hall of Fame can create a sense of connection within your team. When employees see that their individual achievements contribute to the success of the team, a sense of connection and solidarity is created. They start encouraging, supporting and challenging each other to climb to the top together. This not only promotes cooperation within teams but also creates additional commitment to your vitality initiative.

*How to make a Hall of Fame inspiring? *

Perhaps you already had this idea yourself; you want to encourage employees to drink more water during the working day. By setting up a leaderboard 'Water Warriors Hall of Fame', you ensure that employees can track their progress but also that of colleagues and challenge each other to reach the top. Or you want to increase team spirit by making it a team competition that is all about working together. With a digital 'Team Spirit Trophy', teams can earn points for activities around collaborations. With these fun names, employees will start talking about the competition more often and you will make the hall of fame an important part of your vitality initiative.

Make your Hall of Fame shine You can make your Hall of Fame a source of inspiration and motivation by making it visually appealing and prominent, both online and physically. For example, consider a nicely designed poster with a podium where the names of the frontrunners can be seen each week. Or make it interactive by, for example, having a small team print out the pictures of the employees and sticking them on the poster with magnets or Velcro each week. You could even set up a physical stage on site with nameplates or pictures of employees in a frame.

Tip 3: Make challenges fraud-proof 👮

Of course, we don't assume it, but it can always happen... Maybe an employee chooses to enter the competition as smartly as possible. Smart, but perhaps not entirely fair. For example, an employee tries to cheat at a step competition by shaking his pedometer all day instead of actually walking. Didn't we all secretly do this once when we were young? The only annoying thing is that when one or more employees try to circumvent the rules around the competition, it can also demotivate participants who are competing fairly.

Confidence in the competition can diminish

When there is a lot of room to accumulate points in a less fair way, confidence in the competition may also drop or disappear. For example, when you challenge employees to cycle for half an hour, any employee may just say they cycled that day. With clarity and clear instructions, this can already be partially remedied. For example, you could say that each employee should take a photo of the task or use an odometer. But it is also important to clearly communicate the consequences of cheating, so that all participants are aware of the expectations and consequences.

How do you communicate the strict rules?

This might sound very strict. You can present this part in different ways so that it remains a neutral and less loaded topic. For example, use other words that sound less heavy-handed. Turn this section from: "you must not do this", to: "this is what your completed challenge must meet". In case your organisation consists of a smaller team with a lot of humour; then you can turn this part more grandly to, for example, the so-called "punishment bench". Keep it light-hearted by putting an employee, as in the hall of fame, "on the bench" for a few days as a joke, after which the employee is allowed to fully rejoin the competition and he or she starts again with a clean slate.

Organise an Unforgettable Vitality Competition

With these tips in your back pocket, you are ready to organise an exciting and successful vitality competition that not only promotes the health and well-being of your employees, but also strengthens team spirit and enriches the corporate culture. So unleash that competitive spirit and make your organisation buzz with energy and vitality!

Would you like to spar about large-scale competitions with colleagues from different countries? Or do you have a smaller organisation and want to make a vitality competition feel like world news? Then look at the top of the website to make an appointment with a digital coach and schedule an appointment for a digital cup of coffee or tea.