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The interpersonal dynamics of a workplace can determine whether or not a business succeeds, and a bit of competition can be a good thing (Pyramid CG). Employees often become complacent and unproductive in a work environment without competition.
These strategies are proven methods of fostering healthy competition in a work environment.

1. Offer rewards to employees who excel

Many business owners reward employees who show outstanding work performance, and this is one of the best ways to foster healthy competition amongst your employees. There are numerous ways of rewarding an employee or group of employees. Here are a few common performance based reward programmes and how to implement them:

Employee of the month programmes: First, create a list of skills that employees must demonstrate in order to receive the employee of the month award. Ideally, these skills should be things that can be objectively measured. At the end of the month, determine which one of your employees showed the best performance in these areas.

Create a wall of fame: When an employee gets a place on the wall of fame, their picture stays there permanently. Choose an employee for the wall of fame if they demonstrate exemplary performance over a long period of time.

The morning trophy: When an employee shows exemplary performance, you can recognise it by placing a trophy on their desk when they start their day. Of course, it doesn't have to be a trophy. It can also be a letter of recognition.

2. Team competition

You can have teams of your employees compete to achieve a common goal that will help your business to grow. There are several ways that the teams can be created. You can assign your employees to the teams yourself. For some business owners, it's possible to assign employees to the teams randomly. In other cases, it's best to allow your employees to choose which team they want to be part of.

It's important to keep track of all teams. Develop a point system to keep track of each team's achievements. If the team rivalry becomes too intense, alter the competition's structure. In fact, there should be a somewhat lighthearted tone about it. You want your employees to find the team competition enjoyable.

3. Create a non-work related competition

There are different ways of creating a non-work related competition for your employees. Many companies have an annual sports game. However, this may not be appropriate for all workplaces. As the business owner, it is essential that you participate in the non-work related competition that you create.

4. All organised competitions must be fair

This is the primary reason why you should develop an objective way of measuring an employee's standing in the competition. While this goes without saying, no employee should be given an award unless they have earned it. Also, all employees must receive the recognition that they earned.

5. Listen to employees' suggestions

If an employee or group of employees has an idea for a workplace competition, carefully consider what they are suggesting. In some cases, the best method of promoting healthy workplace competition will come as a suggestion given to you by an employee.

It's often a good idea to ask your employees what they would like the workplace competition to be. If your business is small, you should speak with your employees individually. For larger companies, it's better to come up with a list of ideas for what the competition could be and then have your employees vote on it.

6. Avoid direct competition like the plague

It's important to monitor all organised workplace competitions to ensure that two individuals don't get embroiled in a direct competition with each other. Here are some common situations where this can occur:

Rivalry between team captains: There are advantages and disadvantages of designating team captains for a workplace competition. However, it's important to note that it's not unusual for team captains in a workplace competition to become fiercely competitive with one another. If you notice this starting to happen, it's time to reorganise the competition.

Competition within teams: If you have a team competition in your workplace, competition may occur within the team. While this isn't always a bad thing, it may be a good idea to restructure the competition if you notice rivalries developing within a team.

7. Creating informal competition

Organised workplace competition has advantages and disadvantages. If you decide that it's not right for your business, you should take steps to foster healthy informal competition:

Recognise employee achievement: Whenever you notice that an employee is excelling at his or her job, you should always acknowledge it. When other employees see these interactions, it can be an extremely effective method of creating healthy competition.

Reward progress: If an employee shows marked improvement, you should always let them know that you notice it. This will ensure that they are motivated to be competitive even if they aren't one of your top employees.

Allow your employees to keep working on their skill sets: Create a workplace environment that rewards continued learning. If employees are able to improve their work performance over time, they will be much more likely to engage in healthy competition.

8. Only use reward based incentives to create competition

Often times, the difference between an environment that breeds hostile competition and one that fosters healthy competition is whether a reward based system or punishment based system is used. Competition as a result of a punishment based system will almost certainly be a destructive force rather than a beneficial one.

In some cases, the hostile competition that can be created by a punishment based system causes employees to leave a company. This could cause you to lose some of your most valuable workers.

9. Create a competitive leadership training programme

It's especially important to create healthy competition among your strongest employees. This will likely be a powerful force that makes them even stronger assets to your company. Here are some steps that you can take to make sure that your company's leadership training programme is competitive:

- If you have team competitions in your workplace, it's often a good idea to have the employees who are in the leadership development programme take positions of leadership in the teams.
- Objectively measure the success of every employee who is part of the leadership training programme.
- Use these objective measures of leadership success to provide certain individuals in the programme with performance based rewards.

Summary

- These are just a few of the many ways that you can foster healthy competition in a work environment. In fact, the list of ways that you can create healthy competition in the workplace is endless. Once you foster healthy competition in a workplace, it is likely that you will begin to see the positive changes happen quickly.
- Furthermore, you should continue to research new methods of creating competition in the workplace. Luckily, there are numerous books available on the subject. Many websites have been created to teach business owners new methods of creating competition in a work environment.
- You can find videos on the subject by simply searching for them on Youtube or ordering them online. Many of these videos are quite informative.

Jennifer Livingston is a freelance writer who specializes on topics related to business, digital marketing, and web development.
Wellness / Worklife Balance

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