How to engage your employees to be the best team

There’s only seconds on the board and your team is down a few points.

This last play will determine if you take the win or lose by this much.

At this point your adrenaline is pumping and you start standing on one foot (because you did that once in ’89 and that’s the year your team went to the playoffs).

The countdown continues and…

Sports are universally exciting. But at the core they are simply games.

So why are they so compelling?

There’s something great about the team mentality. When our team is up, we’re all up—from the fans to the players to even the investors.

So how can you get your employees to work as hard and enthusiastically for you as a player on a championship team?

Think about running your business like a game.

We want our employees to perform and they want to get paid. So getting them to work for their paychecks should be easy.

But even though it sounds fool-proof, many employers find that they are not getting the desired work from their employees.

So, if the pay doesn’t fluctuate, why does the work?

Emphasize that your employees are a team.

The game should focus on a team mentality. Everyone should feel that they are part of the team and their contributions will help get a win.

When your employees are invested in playing the “game” they are more likely to work harder and stay longer, because they will be more personally invested. This will boost their intrinsic (the fancy way of saying “internal” validation) motivation.  

The “win” of the game might look different to the employer and the employee.

For example, you want to make a profit and an employee wants work-life balance.

So you create an environment with a modern business culture that includes casual dress and hours that allow your employees freedom and flexibility. This is a win for them.

When your “players” get this balance they will come into work fully charged. This leads to peak productivity, better performances, and more profit.  This is a win for you.

When the game is played right all wins will be mutually beneficial.

What are the rules of the game?

Every business has different rules, but in this section I’ll explain an overview of some good “stock rules.”

For example, the game should be dynamic and keep players interested. So don’t be afraid to modify it often.

The game should focus on the positive.

Wins charge-up the team and make employees more willing to play.  Penalties might discourage players from participating.

Some “rules” to think of:

  • Participation should lead to positive incentives or wins
  • Everyone is on the same team: emphasize “group-mind”
  • No one “loses” the game, but the game won’t work if people aren’t motivated to play or win
  • The game only ends when another begins; a game is always happening


It takes a good coach to get a team to achieve great things! Make sure you take an active role on your business's team. When you set a strong, enthusiastic example, they will want to work harder for a win. 

 A successful game is played when everyone wants to play.

So make the game winnable.

This doesn’t mean when the game is won it is over, just the opposite. These little wins are designed to keep players motivated.

Think back to the Kaizen principles, if you make small changes over time they will lead to greater changes in the long run.

Similarly, if you make small wins for your employees possible, they can work towards larger wins. This doesn’t only benefit them, but your business.

For example, if you are trying to increase sales make small goals each week. Like whoever sells one more unit than the average that week gets an extra three hours towards paid vacation.

The next week up the target number, as the year goes on you will see an increase in sales and motivations to sell.

Just make sure you have several of these games designed for the long-term and short term. Varying the goals or win will keep players engaged.

Vary what a win is.

The same goes for the incentives, you don’t want to give away too many monetary “wins,” because it can lead to diminished profits for you, and it will train employees to always expect payment. Be creative with wins.

A win can be anything from catered lunch, a casual dress day, or even bring your pet to work day. Just make sure it’s something meaningful to the people on the team.

At the end of day, when the team is working on a win, they are working for you.

So when you’re ready for the big leagues, we can help you design the best game for your business

If you are having trouble knowing exactly where your business should be going or what you need to make your journey successful, we can help!

Book a free 1-hour Breakthrough Consultation with us.