A little competition never hurt anyone, right? Unless you are dealing with an uber-competitive opponent, in which case the competition can get downright physical.
When you introduce competition into your business, it has to be done carefully, or it can be a double-edged sword. But if it’s done the right way, friendly competition can actually boost productivity and increase employee satisfaction.
A friendly, creative approach to introducing competition amongst your staff is a great way to make everyone happy to come to work and do their jobs and provide a little incentive and motivation along the way.
Here are 7 ways you can bring in competition into your business the right way to boost employee morale and productivity.
7 Fun, Competitive Ideas for Your Business
- Make training an interactive experience. From learning the ropes to training required for compliance, unnecessary meetings are considered the thing employees dread the most about their job. Instead of making your compliance training, continuing education, and other meetings complete drudgery, add some spice with a bit of interactive competition.
Plan review games to quiz staff on what they learned, incorporate group activities to teach a lengthy skill and break up concepts into fun ideas with prizes strategically awarded.
- It’s all about how they represent your business. Every company should have a mission or specific value at the core that its staff knows they represent. It might be helping others in need or being a professional knowledge-base for an industry, but it all boils down to one core value.
Find a way to reward employees when they are caught displaying those core values naturally and you will quickly see other staff emulating those same qualities. The key to this is to keep it consistent, though, or the excitement wears off.
- Focus on rewarding progress, not achievement. Not everyone is going to hit the same target, especially in businesses where the target is always moving. By working with your employees to set goals for their jobs, or finding ways to display their progress as they move from the beginning to the end, you can visibly celebrate their progress.
Some businesses use display boards so that everyone’s progress is seen by all of the staff, while others keep a private goal setting system. The way you go about keeping track of employee progress is up to you, but it should be a simple system that you can use for everyone. When it becomes too cumbersome for you and your employee to keep up with, it does not work long-term.
Use employee feedback to see if the system is working and monitor it yourself. You may have to adjust your rewards or make tweaks to the system itself so it functions smoothly. You can find more info here about awards to use to motivate employees and celebrate goals.
- Clearly define the rules for friendly competition. No matter what incentives you provide and the rewards you are celebrating, the rules need to be defined ahead of time. If any of your staff feels that the rules are skewed in one direction rather than another, resentment can grow in what was supposed to be a friendly competition.
Everyone should have an equal shot at the prize and know exactly what it takes to get there. They should also know why you are encouraging the competition and what you are expecting them to improve on.
While it doesn’t have to be a case of “everyone gets something,” some businesses keep the game going even after the first winner is announced. Different prizes may be offered for second, third, and even fourth place. That way other employees continue to push their productivity since they still have the motivation of a reward.
- Integrate both team and individual competition. Individual competition is great to foster employee productivity, but encouraging your staff to work as a team fosters a strong working environment.
Find ways that employees can boost each other up, help their teammates in weaker areas, and demonstrate leadership. This helps the friendly competitive spirit stay in the right mindset.
- Assign mentors and buddies. If you have regular turnover in your business, your new staff will appreciate being guided into the ropes rather than dealing with a “sink or swim” policy. Seasoned staff will enjoy being given the responsibility and trust that comes with the role of mentor. This also serves a dual purpose of giving you less work and worry.
The competitive element in this idea comes naturally. If any of your staff want to be a mentor, they need to exhibit the features that are inherent in a good role model. To make this fair, ensure that all of the qualifications necessary to be a mentor are posted or in your procedure manual, and add a bonus for anyone who qualifies for the title.
- Get philanthropic. Encourage employees to contribute to a charity with a little friendly competition. This can be done in multiple ways.
In one common example, employees divide themselves into teams, where each team is supporting the same charity. Then you can set a goal for the teams to volunteer their time raising money for the different charities. Encourage them to use certain set-aside company time to do this, as well as their own time. Then, whichever team raises the most money to donate to their charity will receive a matching donation from the company.
Not only does this count as a taxable deduction for you, but it makes your business look good and encourages your employees to work together for the good of others. All of this helps your business’s productivity.
Get Your Employees Engaged in Friendly Competition
These are just a few of the many ways that you can introduce a bit of friendly competition in your company. This spice in an otherwise mundane workday can boost your staff’s productivity, alleviate employee stress and discontent, and improve teamwork.
With just a bit of work from you setting the rules for fair play into place and determining the right rewards for your employees to motivate them, you can more than make up any investment you put into the competition with increased employee productivity.