Workplace Competition: The Pros and Cons

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A well-functioning market is based on competition. It seems to work on a grand scale. Why can’t it work to drive your team to better results?

Adding competition to the workplace seems like an obvious way to coax a better performance from your employees. However, you have to proceed cautiously.

A little well-managed rivalry might push your workers to higher levels of productivity and output. But too much competition can poison office morale and lead to additional conflict and strife. In turn, productivity and output will drop, and you might face additional long-term problems, like increased turnover.

To help you consider the best way to introduce a competitive atmosphere in your office, here are a few pros and cons to keep in mind:

Pro: Provides Self-Motivation Opportunities

One of the challenges of management is keeping your team inspired day after day. It’s easy when that big sales pitch is coming up. However, you can’t manufacture a crisis every few weeks.

Setting up some workplace competition can lead to sustained motivation. Your staff will constantly try to one-up each other. Once you get the process going, you don’t need to contribute much. Your staff will take care of the inspiration themselves.

Con: Things Can Turn Cut Throat

While competition breeds motivation, it also contains a serious threat of turning sour. When someone wins, that means someone else has to lose. It can make people bitter and petty.

These factors can quickly make the competition counterproductive. For that reason, it’s important to keep the proceedings friendly and constructive.

Pro: Can Make Work More Fun

Injecting joy into the workday can do a lot to boost morale. After all, it’s easy for any job to get repetitive and boring.

Competition can cure this sense of drudgery. Done right, a competitive atmosphere can add a mood of fun. It spices up rote, monotonous tasks with excitement and engagement.

Con: Some People Don’t React Well to Competition

Not everyone finds competition fun. Some people respond to the situation with anxiety and self-consciousness. These personality types would not only get left out of the fun, but their morale would also suffer a nosedive if competition became too rampant.

On the other end of the spectrum, some people can’t engage in good-natured, friendly competition. They feel the need to dominate. By stoking their competitive spirits, you might inadvertently bring out the worst in some of your employees.

Pro: Get the Most Out of Limited Incentives

You only have so much money in the budget for things like bonuses and raises. As such, only a few members of the team can get rewarded.

Competition allows you to stretch these budgets, by encouraging everyone to work their hardest. People will strive to secure the reward, putting in a good performance even if they end up losing.

Con: Communication Breakdowns

When you pit people against each other, they will start to take little tricks to win. It can breed an atmosphere of secrecy and suspicion – the opposite of what you’d like to see in a healthy team.

Workers will withhold information from their coworkers. If they find a better way to perform a task, they will keep it to themselves. In short, the office becomes every person for themselves.

No matter how much you choose to encourage competition, finding the perfect fits for your company culture is key to creating a winning team. A top-ranked staffing firm, like DHR, helps you hire the ideal fit for what you need.

Contact DHR today to find out more.

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