Motivating peak performance through friendly competition

Cultivating a goals-oriented culture can be crucial for businesses that rely on frontline teams, especially when they’re distributed across several stores with multiple layers of management. Across the community of thoughtful managers who use Crew, we’ve noticed many powerful techniques that people use to make sure their teams understand and embrace performance goals and metrics.


One of our favorites is encouraging friendly competition through engaging contests. Since humans are inherently competitive by nature, smart managers know that by harnessing this desire to do better, they can boost performance, validation, and accountability. What’s more, by using contests to showcase what success looks like, they provide transparency into specific expectations, which helps motivate the rest of the organization. This inevitably drives up results, not just for the one or two best-performing team members, but hopefully for the entire organization.


From talking with our customers about what works for them, we’ve discovered some common best practices that all managers can replicate.


5 ways to incentivize frontline success with contests

  1. Suggestive selling: Primary Aim, one of the largest Wendy’s franchises, recently used Crew to encourage attach sales. A district manager there told us, “After launching our cookie contest on Crew and encouraging employees via head-to-head challenges between shifts, group banter and even cookie monster gifs, the store sold a record 600+ cookies in one week. This was over 3X the contest’s goal and more than 8X our average weekly cookie sales.”

  2. Speed of service: Another great thing to focus on is how fast your frontline is serving customers. Tyler Sollars, an area supervisor at McDonald’s franchisee Dixon Foods, shared a great story with us. “Yesterday, I was monitoring a Crew discussion in one of my stores where the manager was out for the day,” Sollars said. “Her drive-thru team wasn’t performing well, so she took a picture of the score and shared it in Crew, saying ‘Hey guys, we're only 16th out of 28 today. Let's get this thing moving!’ A couple hours went by, and her next post in Crew was ‘Team, thank you so much – we went from 16th to 8th!’” This resulted in an 11-second boost in speed of service that day.

  3. Customer satisfaction: Many organizations run contests or leaderboards for teams or individuals who get top marks on customer surveys or secret shopper visits. For example, Eddie Sanchez, the general manager of a KFC in North Carolina, told us, “I use Crew to encourage friendly competition within the team by running monthly contests for the best VOC (Voice of the Customer) reviews. Anyone who gets five or more customers to mention their name in a positive review each month gets a prize, and I post all the reviews in Crew. These in-app contests jazz up our team spirit and encourage positive behavior.”

  4. General work quality: There are many other aspects of frontline jobs besides customer interaction and sales. Managers recognize employees for other important tasks, such as keeping their station clean, correctly answering pop quizzes about new items, or putting together awesome product displays. Joe Kerns, the director of operations at a Pizza Hut group, Spokane Valley Pizza, pointed out, “My stores that consistently use Crew to thank employees for doing a good job with cleanup, or covering a shift, or a whole host of other things are the ones doing really, really well with their key performance metrics.”

  5. Team engagement: Some of the most creative contests we’ve seen are those that push staff to go above and beyond the normal scope of their daily work. Taco Bell operator, ES-O-EN Management, runs lighthearted competitions, such as inviting employees to wear costumes to work and share their selfies on Crew. “Our Halloween contest made people feel part of a bigger unit than just their small team store,” said Stephen Nicolaysen, ES-O-EN’s CFO. “As an added bonus, it took a day that people would normally want to call out for, and turned it into a preferred shift by giving staff a fun reason to show up.” Spokane Valley Pizza also raises and matches donations for team members in need by encouraging staff to contribute a dollar in exchange for wearing their favorite sports team’s gear on Fridays. By using Crew to drive competition between her stores, area coach Angie Davidson recently collected 30% more in donations than any other area. A multi-location SportClips franchisee, SBK, even ran a social media marketing contest prompting stylists to publish more content to Twitter and Instagram--such as hair transformation photos and synchronized dance videos.


What’s great is that an app like Crew makes it much easier to drive awareness and engagement for these kinds of contests. Managers can use Crew to post clear rules and timelines upfront, share frequent reminders, updates, and rankings throughout the contest period, and of course celebrate winners with Crew Gold Stars or other incentives.


Have you ever tried using the Crew app to increase engagement in contests at your business? If so, snap a photo or share your favorite examples with us on Twitter.