Escape Rooms were the hot ticket over the holidays. Whether solving a bank heist, finding the pirate booty or helping the wizard reclaim his kingdom, the teens and tweens couldn’t get enough of them. My nieces and nephews drove an hour to participate in one at 9:40pm – the only time they could get a reservation.

For those unfamiliar with the premise, a small group enters a room and locates clues to solve a mystery. It is an exercise in problem-solving and logic intertwined with technology: put the wooden piece in the holder in a specific way so the invisible magnets touch and open another hatch or press the buttons in sequence to receive a new clue, etc.

Think about the Escape Room as a model for motivation. The rooms are all about the experience itself. There are no prizes or rewards (other than holding up a sign for the photo at the end). People take the task as seriously as if they were hired to do it, even though in reality they are the ones who paid for the privilege. There is a problem to be solved and groups work together to find the best solution.

How can you structure your work experience so people feel like they are in an Escape Room instead of wanting to escape your workplace? The intangible element of engagement is a far more powerful motivator than tangible rewards.


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