It is human nature to desire to compete, share and collaborate. Companies that have created a thriving work environment successfully tap into this social desire and make the most out of it. They do so by promoting healthy competition at the workplace.
Research suggests that healthy competition among employees motivates them to put more effort. In addition, competition boosts psychological abilities, pushing the mind and body to perform better.
What is healthy competition at the workplace?
Healthy competition at work is the kind of competition that focuses on personal achievement and regards team achievement as the ultimate goal. The competitive spirit stems from a growth mindset and fosters a positive attitude.
Benefits Of Healthy Competition
Healthy competition at the workplace influences employees to perform at their full potential.
Allows employees to set stretch goals
Competition at the workplace is not only about competing with others, it is also about competing with oneself. Therefore, an organization with a competitive work environment continuously raises the performance bar and challenges employees to achieve it, setting a pattern of constantly pushing for higher goals.
Team activities are a great way of creating competition between employees within the corporation. For instance, Clayton Homes, a large home building company in the US, carried out a competitive event for their sales team.
Groups of sales representatives had to compete, and each team would earn points based on the number of cold calls, customer appointments, and sales. This initiative evoked a sense of alliance among employees and also spiked the company’s sales figures.
A competitive environment that elicits excitement leads employees to find innovative solutions to win. In a study conducted by HBR, employees expressed that they would resort to creative means, such as invent new technology processes in a healthy competitive environment.
How To Create Healthy Competition In the Workplace
Competition at the workplace can be both healthy and unhealthy. The responsibility of carrying out the competition in the right way falls on the manager and the HR team. Here are some strategies to ensure the implementation of healthy competition.
Gamify the competition
Gamification is the application of game strategies to a non-game environment. Add elements like leaderboard, scores, points, and rewards to make it a fun experience.
For example, a finding shows that a playful work environment motivates employees and reduces stress. Fitness contests at the workplace are an excellent example of gamification. Employees earn points for exercising and can track progress on the leaderboard.
Focus on winning
An organization should incentivize the competition by focusing on rewarding rather than humiliating. Fear of being called out for not performing or being publicly humiliated creates an environment of anxiety and stress.
People do not prosper in such stressful surroundings. The purpose of the competition is to encourage employees to do their best and not demotivate them.
Establish a culture of open communication
Open communication is essential to healthy competition in the workplace. People should be allowed to freely express themselves, have constructive debates, and share their opinion.
Competition at the office is an exercise to bring employees together, and having an open-door policy will allow employees to learn from one another. Also, it increases visibility and supports workplace learning.
Give effective feedback
Feedback should be part of the competition. While competition boosts the quantity of work, feedback regulates the quality. Every company must have a system of giving honest and unbiased feedback in place. Employees want to perform better, and they can do so only when they get clarity on what to improve.
Set quantifiable goals
An organization works with a varied group of people that has different capabilities. Vague goals like ‘the highest-selling salesperson’ can discourage ones who are still working on themselves.
Therefore, it is essential to level the playing field by setting quantifiable goals like ‘the first salesperson to sell ten products.’
Things To Avoid In Workplace Competition
Though there are many benefits of healthy competition at the workplace, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, if not done right, competition at the workplace can negatively impact employee morale.
An uncontrolled office competition can become toxic. People may bully each other and harbor enmity – turning a friendly competition in the workplace into something hostile. Make sure to put checkpoints in place to prevent negative behavior and cultivate sportsmanship.
To quote an instance, Wells Fargo employees secretly opened millions of unauthorized credit card and bank accounts to achieve their sales target. Unethical practices are harmful and can adversely affect the company. Disciplinary measures should be in place to ensure that nobody resorts to unfair means to get ahead.
Not for everyone
A competitive environment is not for every employee. A company should not force competing on all individuals. While competition at the workplace will work wonders for the sales team, it might not be appropriate for the IT maintenance team.
The benefits of healthy competition at the workplace is dependent on its core objective. Increasing topline revenue, getting clients, and increasing sales is the end goal.
Still, opening lines of communication, promoting innovation, and creating a fluid company culture is the purpose of creating a competitive environment. When competition in the workplace evokes the right culture, it will translate into long-term success.