It was about two years ago when Marquis Health Services, a New Jersey-based provider, started an “Elf on the Shelf” and “Mensch on the Bench” photo competition in order to increase holiday spirits and connect staff members at its skilled nursing facilities.  

The competition has since spread throughout the provider’s 25 SNFs and has led to a significant increase in staff engagement on social media. 

“It is safe to say that this is going to be part of how Marquis Health Services celebrates the holiday season for many years to come,” Natalie Adis, director of digital marketing and analytics, told McKnight’s

The competition, which is geared to both Christian and Jewish residents, challenges staff members to find creative places to pose their elves and mensches (Yiddish for “people of integrity and honor”) for pictures. On the fourth day of this year’s competition, staff members took more than 40 photos and made more than 20 social media posts, according to Adis. 

It’s now averaging about 25 to 30 “Elf” and “Mensch” posts per day on social media. It also had more than 2,500 engagements on its social media posts during the contest’s first week. Impressions on the provider’s LinkedIn feed have increased by 174%, the provider stated. 

“These elves and mensches are spending time with physicians and nurse practitioners. They are visiting hospitals and other offsite locations. They are getting into mischief but also bringing attention to good things, like the ‘giving trees’ at some of our Marquis centers. “They are even attending our facilities’ holiday parties,” Adis said. 

“It has become such a fun and friendly way to leverage competitive spirit to spread happiness,” she added.