The Great Hive Report Off (Tips For Team Building Activities)

Geoff Mike Gareth at conference 2019
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Does competition kill collaboration in the workplace? Emma Booth ⁠— Hive’s Product Owner and very own Prue Leith! ⁠— shares the story behind The Great Hive Report Off, plus her planning tips for competitive team-building activities.

David Sarnoff, pioneer of American commercial Radio and Television once said: “Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people.”

But is it really true? Does competing against a colleague mean you have to step on them to get to the top? We weren’t so sure!

So when we started working on our platform’s new Quick Reports feature, we decided to put our Software Engineers to the test.

A problem shared is a problem solved 

Presenting headline survey results is a really powerful way to keep both employees and key stakeholders engaged in organisational change, especially if you’re surveying on a frequent basis.

But for busy HR and OD teams, this can often feel time-consuming and takes resource away from the all-important positive action planning. With this in mind, we wanted to devise a feature that would ease the process of reporting and presenting for our customers. 

As usual, our Product team had a tonne of technical ideas and options to explore — but how would we know which one was best? There was only one way to find out…

FIGHT!

Or not. 

Our lead engineer, Alex, came up with the brilliant idea of asking three Software Engineers to pick a potential solution, research its strengths and weaknesses, and present back their case — being judged on their evaluation of the solution and presentation quality.

And so, The Great Hive Report Off was born! But before we reveal the winning results, let’s chat…

What makes competition in the workplace so healthy?

Over to our Software Engineers…

1. It makes big-decision making inclusive

“We love working with exciting new technology, getting hands-on and building things - but a key part of being a responsible software engineer is considering the wider picture of what you build. It’s important to make something that not only works well tomorrow, but in 12 months time and further into the future. Building these skills into the whole team ensures that everyone can be involved in decision-making processes.”

Alex Young, Lead Software Engineer / Hive's Paul Hollywood
Alex Young BW Square
2. It encourages wider thinking

“Generally, my focus is on how something is going to be implemented and the technical solution. It was really interesting to approach this problem from a slightly different angle. Considering the best fit for other reasons such as learning curve, cost, availability, and speed of development. Thinking a little more about the “why” than the “how”, and the wide-reaching implications of using such technologies.”

Geoff Whitehead, competing Software Engineer
Geoff Whitehead BW Square
3. It motivates and engages

“I’m a massive Bake Off fan so I absolutely loved competing in the Great Hive Report Off. Everybody has a competitive side in them, and the idea for us to use this to get creative and compete against each other was brilliant, some of the concepts we came up with were really exciting! By trying out a number of different tools we were able to make a Prue-dent decision on the best tool for Hive.”

Gareth Lowrie, competing Software Engineer
Gareth Lowrie Square BW
4. It promotes problem-solving

“The Report Off allowed me to get stuck into the nitty-gritty problems engineers face when developing something with a lot of unknowns. We knew the scope of the task we were tackling but we didn’t know how we could actually go about making it a reality. By adding a competitive research element to it, we could break it down from a technical perspective and evaluate the pros and cons of each technology to figure out which would work best for us.”

Mike Davies, competing Software Engineer
Michael Davies BW Square

And the winner is…

A massive Hive-Five to Mike Davies!

Mike’s thorough assessment and engaging presentation made him the winner of The (first ever) Great Hive Report Off. 

We also give a HUGE Hive thanks the whole Product team, who’ve been working hard to launch our Quick Reports featurewhich is now live on the Hive platform, meaning our customers can now create a presentation-ready slide deck at the click of a button!

Mike Wins The Great Hive Report Off
TGHRO winner, Mike, super chuffed with his Thornton’s chocolate cup!

 

Tips for competitive team building activities

So, if you’re looking to mix things up and inject a bit of fun into your team’s everyday, here are some top tips for setting up a competitive team building activity:

  • Don’t make it about the prize – big prizes create a hostile environment as everyone wants to win. Focussing on the competition itself, rather than the prize, means your team will happily collaborate and enjoy the process.
  • Think about how the competition benefits your employees – yes, the business is looking for output, but make sure that you are giving your people something too. That could be the chance to try something new and expand their knowledge in a particular area, or just a shake-up to the old routine.
  • Keep it casual – over formalising and adding pressure won’t help your people thrive
  • Play to your employees’ strengths – nobody likes feeling like a fish out of water. Don’t set an impossible task, think about your team’s strengths and let them shine!

So give it a go. Set up a mini-competition and watch your people come to life!

Hive is hiring a Lead Software Engineer!

If you’d like the chance to join our delightful Product team as a Lead Software Engineer, check out our careers page! And if you want to know more about our Quick Reports feature, book a demo with a Hive platform specialist.

Emma is the almighty owner of Hive’s employee feedback platform. She works with our Software Engineers to turn customer goals into platform realities, and keeps Team Hive entertained with her spritely product updates. Connect with Emma on LinkedIn.

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