Our company has a wellness contest to promote healthy lifestyle and well being. The contest is focused around how much physical activity you perform. (For example, 1 mile run = 10 points). The top 3 individuals with the most points at the end of the contest get a nice cash prize. 1st place gets a whopping $3000.
The person who organized this contest has left the company, and I was put in charge.
While this contest has good intentions, the way it was setup is beyond stupid. Essentially, you can put whatever you want in the system, and there's no way to verify or check if you're uploading accurate information. I could put that I climbed Mt Everest today, but don't need to provide any proof, and I'll instantly shoot to the top of the leaderboard.
Because this is a huge cash prize, people are getting really into it. Tempers are flaring now as some people are (understandably) claiming that other individuals are cheating. Some examples are:
- A very obese man (he says he is 415 lbs) has claimed to run a marathon with a pace of 5:18 a mile.
- An individual who worked an 8 hour day on Monday claimed to have run for 16 hours on that same day (and then repeated this feat on Tuesday and Thursday of the same week).
- A woman who is probably 5'0" and thin as a rail (I'm guessing no more than 100 lbs) claimed to have bench pressed 360 lbs.
- A man in his early 70s claimed to have finished 2 Ironman Triatholons in a 3 day period
Now, I'm no fitness buff and I suppose that all of these are conceivably possible. But people are crying BS on these results and I tend to agree with them. Given the large cash prize, things are getting really heated. I really don't want to deal with this, but unfortunately I have to because I've been put in charge.
Is it better to just award these individuals with far-fetched data and deal with everybody else getting mad at me? Or is it better to confront these individuals or disqualify them for clearly cheating? How can I approach this situation professionally?
Thanks all for the feedback. Just wanted to give a quick update.
I decided to disqualify the individuals I was sure were cheating, and so they didn't win any money. For better or for worse, they've all provided irrefutable evidence to me that they were telling the truth all along. Now my boss has enrolled me in sensitivity training and I'm on disciplinary probation.
Well, lesson learned, I guess...