The Case For A Cook Off


Strategy culture and values


Running a fun event such as a cook-off within the company has many benefits both for the business and employees. For little to no expense, business leaders can reap the rewards of such an initiative.

I’ve recently arranged a chilli competition here at Ciphr, here’s why:

  1. It’s ‘National Chili Day’ in the US on 26th Feb
  2. It’s great for the several business reasons I’ve detailed in the following article
  3. Everyone likes chilli


Invitations to enter the competition were open to individuals, but also teams. This encouraged collaboration between colleagues in a fun way, with no immediate pressure that may be experienced from project or campaign deadlines.

In a previous initiative we ran teams that were made up of employees from different departments. Creating this type of team diversity meant that colleagues, who may not have any reason to interact with each other on a social basis, worked together and got to know one another in a fun scenario.

Creating an air of healthy competition also encourages discussion and banter within the office. This is great for getting people talking to each other and interacting on a fun level.

When people are happy, enjoying what they’re doing and the environment they’re in, then they’ll work better together. The more employees that you can get working together, the better they’ll collaborate during business campaigns.



When employee morale is high, the level of general job satisfaction and overall well-being is also high. Anything fun will increase morale. When it’s on a company-wide scale, then this type of event can have a huge impact on the general feeling throughout the business.

Happy employees will be more productive and work better with others.


A common topic of conversation makes it easier to interact. Even introverts and those who may normally find it uncomfortable talking to others can get involved in conversations with colleagues from all over the company.
Employees and managers alike can converse on a social level about their progress or how confident they are of winning a prize.

The simple fact that such an event takes place in the office encourages engagement and further ideas from employees about what initiative to work on next.

Talent attraction

Who doesn’t want to work for a company that proactively encourages fun events? Applicants will look at the environment that they’ll be working in for the majority of the day and this type of thing makes the brand more appealing.

The knowledge that there’s an opportunity to arrange such schemes also encourages applicants who are keen to contribute to the continued growth of a brand.

Talent attraction is all about advertising your brand and what it offers, including initiatives like these.

Employer branding

Transparency is a great marketing tool, employed by many leading brands. Allowing an insight into the day to day ‘goings on’ within your business can do wonders for your employer brand.
For example, this article is one example of the ways in which our business advertises our culture to both prospective (and passive) talent and customers alike.

Being seen as a fun loving, engaged and happy company that cares and interacts with its people, attracts talent and custom and won’t hurt your social efforts either.

Building a culture

Once an event has happened, as long as it was successful then it’ll inspire others to create and run their own. Even if the event wasn’t a success, others may still be inspired to try something different. Pretty soon you’ll have a culture of interaction and communication, where people are happy to put their ideas forward and go the extra mile in the name of engagement.
It’s not all about fun and a business needs to be focused on it’s goals too, but a bit of lighthearted competition never hurts.

In case this has left you a bit hungry, here’s a great chili recipe to try! 🙂