It’s time for lip sync battles and charades to keep the energy high in your distributed team.
Four months ago, large employers, those who hire 100 people a month or more faced one of the biggest operational and logistical challenges of their history: shifting from a traditional office setting and all of its established processes, to a 100% remote work model. And to do that in a matter of days, while complying with unclear laws and regulations on the topic.
Chief People Officer at ERC, Kim Howell, recounted the tale in our last podcast episode. Her company has offices in the U.S, India, and the Dominican Republic. Within a span of 48 hours, they were able to get almost all of their agents productive and at home. In the U.S, every single person who came to the office on that morning unplugged their equipment and physically brought it home that evening. In the Dominican Republic it wasn’t as cut and dry — instead a community effort was made to deliver equipment to people’s homes. As Kim described, anyone with a car or two hands that could drive, participated.
The current crisis brought on many of these moments all over the world, where a company’s culture was really put to the test. In many cases it shined like at ERC, with everyone going the extra mile to pivot as swiftly as possible.
Then came other challenges. It wasn’t just about equipment, but the right setting. Some of the staff can’t work from home because of poor Internet connection or a loud home. Workaround solutions started cropping up, moving people around to other positions deemed as essential so they could go to the office, stay safe and keep their jobs. Everyone got creative. Recruiters, call center agents, HR managers, and everyone else got into a WFH groove. The benefits seemed outrageous. Articles touting the magical land of remote work and how to take advantage of it filled our inboxes. Productivity spiked, people had more time to sleep, more time with family, more time to bake, more time to think. .
Inevitably, then came the burn out. The philosophical question of when does work end and life begin became a trend. The two got blurred, schedules got hazy, hiring got harder. When it became clear no one was going back to the office any time soon, Talent Acquisition teams had not only learned to work remotely, but they had to change their processes to include hiring remote-savvy employees. If you’re still struggling on how to adapt your processes to include an expanded talent pool and test for culture fit within a distributed framework, Talkpush CEO Max laid it all out here.
HR practitioners noticed that the decline in productivity started about 30 days into remote work. People were getting tired of sitting in their home offices by themselves with minimal social interactions. Those who weren’t used to working from home started to struggle keeping up with their schedule, interruptions, and other distractions. The benefits of feeling part of a team are most easily leveraged in group settings, the isolation was taking a big chunk of that culture away.
It was time for charades on Zoom
So we get the rise of gamification to promote productivity. Turns out a 15 minute break to socialize, even if it is remotely, gives employees back some of that feeling of belonging which in turn helps them stay invested in their jobs.
“You have to find a way to replicate what they’re used to, like games, you have to find a way to bring that into the virtual environment, where you’re doing something fun like a lip sync challenge, or Zoom scavenger hunts,”
— Kim Howell, Chief People Officer, ERC
The challenge for HR is really about flexing those creativity muscles and coming up with something new and exciting every week. At Talkpush, we’ve established virtual team lunches and random water cooler chats. Internal engagement has been truly outstanding, and it’s also been a great way to increase our social media presence and interactions.
Ideas and tips on how to gamify virtual interactions
First off, you’ve got to participate in your own games! What’s more fun than a lip sync battle between co-workers? A chance to see your boss mouthing the words to “Oops, I did it Again.” So, keep that in mind as you come up with ideas on what enticing activities you’ll drum up to generate team bonding.
Here are some that we’ve seen:
Zoom lip sync battle: Invite everyone to a Zoom meeting, get them excited about the battle (you could offer a prize for the best rendition). Everyone should be on video and the rest is relatively easy. Everyone gets to pick the song they’d like to perform, puts it on their computer speakers and voila! You can make it more dynamic by having people vote in the chat or using Zoom polls.
Zoom charades: This one is a bit more challenging from a logistics standpoint. You can make teams at random before the call and inform everyone what their teams are. A moderator needs to assign items, places, movies, characters (or another category of your choosing) privately to one member of each team. Each team takes turns acting it out, the one who guesses the most in under 5 minutes wins! Alternatively, you could do without the teams and just assign people something to act out for everybody else.
Scavenger hunt: Easy and fun. Think of random objects for people to search through their house and come back to show them on Zoom. Deliver the list at the beginning of the call, set the time, and encourage them to leave their videos on while they search! Scavenger hunts can get real funny, with unamused cats as props, weird household items, and even a toddler or two.
Taking it a step further with productivity games
Those are all a great way for teams to relax, have some fun, and get those social endorphins up. It’s definitely a productivity booster because happy, connected people just work better. But, you can also get your employees excited about some friendly competition that is directly related to job performance.
For example, at Talkpush we’re hosting one of our biggest virtual events in 2 weeks. We need to get those leads registered! So, instead of just tapping sales to invite their prospects like usual, we launched a company-wide contest to see who can bring in the most sign-ups (that fit our ICP). The winning team gets $$$ to be spent however they see fit — Costa Rica already has plans to rent a beach house for the weekend. It’s been an outlet not just to get people registered for our event, but also to get talkpushers talking on our channels, rooting for their teams and having fun with one another.
Recruitment lends itself to many such contests. Think about what feels right for your business and processes, teams or individual competitions. A couple of things you can measure and compete on are time processing candidates, NPS scores of assigned candidates, number of hires, etc. Recruiter performance can be easily measured in your analytics dashboard — check out Talkpush’s here.
Besides winning a prize, regular contests like these are motivating and improve productivity because they encourage recognition. It feels good to win!
Promoting Employee Engagement
When thinking about your games and contests, go back to your mission and your employer brand. Capitalize on the unique personality of your company and the work culture to come up with things your employees will enjoy. Participation in “fun” shouldn’t be mandatory, so make sure it’s an option they’ll want to take.
Remote Company Life
Making an effort to get remote employees involved in company life is important and translates directly into a more productive culture.
For Talent Acquisition teams this is extra important. Their jobs are all about establishing human connections, yet so many times it becomes about admin work. Getting recruiters back to basics, relating to their co-workers, a few minutes a week is psychologically necessary for them to keep excelling and relating to candidates.
👉 If you're thinking about optimizing your process to boost recruiter productivity and enable remote hiring, schedule a call with us. We can talk about your vision and how Talkpush can help.