Poker Incentives

Type of Initiative:   Associate or Participant Incentive

Published in:  Playing With A Full Deck, by Michelle Cummings

Props Needed:  Playing cards

Group Size:  5 or more

Aim of the Game:  To encourage more participation, participants are rewarded with a playing card for their involvement in class or initiative.

Playing the Game:  This activity is a good one to use if you are looking for a way to encourage, reward, or motivate your participants.  The knowledge of the actual game Poker and what makes a winning Poker hand is essential.  The basic fundamentals of the activity are that a participant is rewarded with one card after they have achieved a pre-set goal.  After each participant has received 6-10 cards they reveal the best Poker hand they can make with the cards they received.  There are many possibilities on how to reward those that participated.

Possibilities:

  • Have a prize for the best poker hand at the end of a session.
  • Have a prize for the worst poker hand at the end of a session.  This illustrates the importance of the reward for participation, not just luck of the draw.
  • Before describing the game to participants, do not tell the group there will be a prize for the best poker hand.  This is a great way to illustrate intrinsic motivation.
  • While describing the game to participants, tell the group there will be a prize for the best poker hand (NOTE: be cautious, as this can encourage too much competition for some groups.)
  • Allow 2-5 minutes of negotiation for participants to trade cards with each other to try to get better hands.  Works very well with sales associates & competitive managers.

Examples of on the job incentives:

  • Any staff member receiving a positive customer comment card receives a playing card.  At the end of a specified time period, the best poker hand receives a prize.
  • Restaurants: for each special or feature meal/promotion sold on a particular evening the server receives a playing card.  Best poker hand at the end of the evening receives a prize.
  • Hotels: for each “perfectly cleaned” room after inspection, the room attendant, (housekeeper), receives a playing card. Best poker hand receives a prize.
  • Sales: for each sale closed over a certain dollar amount, the sales representative receives a playing card.  At the end of a specified time period, the best poker hand receives a prize.

Debriefing Topics:

Importance of immediate feedback for staff motivation

  • Was it easier to speak up & participate when you were immediately rewarded for the effort?
  • Do we acknowledge & praise our staff promptly & publicly?

Value of non-monetary incentives

  • Did it matter that the recognition/reward was not monetary?
  • Are our staff members motivated by more than money?
  • Do we know what our staff values; what motivates them?

 

Learning styles utilized from the 7 Kinds of Smart:  ~logic smart, people smart, body smart, self smart

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