Onyx Worldwide crafts puzzling promotion for Google engineers

Google puzzle web

How do you outsmart a smartie? This was the challenge presented to Sausalito, California, distributor Onyx Worldwide (UPIC: onyxupic). Known for its brilliant employees, Google requested a unique promotion to challenge and entertain its engineers. “With a group that’s on the cutting edge of technology, impressing an engineer isn’t easy,” says Matt David, owner and president of Onyx.

Google uses some rather innovative and interactive approaches to its team-building events for employees and interns, as well as for its onboarding of new employees. New Google recruits—or Nooglers, as they’re called—may find themselves participating in any number of unorthodox activities, including scavenger hunts.

The team at Onyx blended mobile technology with a time-tested brainteaser—the jigsaw puzzle. The challenge was to design a puzzle that, when assembled, could be scanned by an iPhone or Android smartphone. “Using QR code technology, Onyx created a custom design and tested the assembled puzzle to ensure Android and iPhone scanners could read it,” says David.

To add to the challenge, the team intentionally left the box devoid of any design that would indicate what the completed puzzle looked like. “Once the recipient assembled the puzzle inside, they scanned the layout and were redirected to a website that offered clues to the next scavenger hunt stop.”

The Google puzzle and its interactive, tech-driven purpose are just one example of companies’ increased adoption of gamification to facilitate employee engagement and retention. Incorporating competitive elements into the onboarding process for new employees, or into engagement efforts, allows employees to become immersed in company culture and see their role in the achievement of company-wide goals.

An Aberdeen Group survey found that companies using gamification see a 48-percent improvement in engagement and a 38-percent reduction in turnover. While not every company has the resources and staff numbers that Google boasts, using mobile devices, apps and scannable codes (like the one built into the Onyx puzzle design) allows gamification to be made scalable and affordable for businesses of all types and sizes.

Gamify Your Clients’ Promotional Programs

Gamification is a great way to boost participation in promotional programs. Incorporating a competitive element into workplace safety programs, customer loyalty programs and even performance evaluations can add value to rewards that include promotional products. Consider these strategies for your client’s next program challenge.

Create a points system for safety awareness.

Give a workplace safety program a boost by incorporating incentives that employees can earn points toward by watching safety videos or completing advanced training courses.

Turn great customer service into a competition.

Create a leaderboard-style contest for customer service employees; feedback survey results earn employees points, and top scorers receive incentive prizes.

Reward loyalty with customization.

Loyalty programs that award points to end users, who then redeem points for merchandise, can be made more desirable by offering items through a website that lets them customize a product by selecting color, style, logo placement or decoration type.