Kudozza's Challenges: Do they work?

Kudozza brings unique capabilities to foster your teams recognition and appreciation giving in Microsoft Teams.

One feature are the challenges which ask users to give X kudos/week over a period of Y weeks. Whoever manages that, gets a badge assigned.
The idea behind a challenge is to support users to develop the habit of looking for things that they are grateful for and expressing these with a kudos.
And all of this over a number of weeks instead of just a short timespan like a month.

While planning a challenge at a customer, the question arose if there is scientific research that shows that challenges actually improve recognition giving. Especially as they have downsides like creating a “pressure situation” to give recognition. So far, we couldn’t find any research on that topic (pretty bad keywords for googling though).

From the neuroscientific facts available, it is known that in general, external motivation through rewards is not optimal.
Instead, it is more effective for people to motivate and convince themselves intrinsically. For example, by telling oneself frequently “I like showing appreciation and find it rewarding to look for reasons to do so”. This will be more powerful than doing it for a badge after X number of weeks.

Additionally is known, that being thankful and showing appreciation does not come easily for most of us and is like a muscle that needs to be trained. If it is not done frequently, it will not get easier or better. The same is true for the benefits of thankfulness. They will only materialize if practiced frequently.

And that is the huge benefit of challenges. They create momentum.
In my case, I know I would probably delay this “active looking for good stuff” endlessly. And the challenge gives me a opportunity to get serious with it.
From previous challenges I can tell, that my perception really starts to change. I’ll focus way more on the good stuff that happens. So for me it definitively makes an impact and helps me on the loooong way to make appreciation a habit.

It’s important to remember that a challenge is not a competition, but a self-challenge with a small reward at the end. Everyone is free to skip or leave the challenge at any time without any harm done.

So give it a try. Just keep in mind that it a challenge is best introduced with some motivational slides highlighting the importance of recognition and thankfulness!