Is friendly competition beneficial in the workplace?

Many firms across the world reward employees based on their performance against targets set, this most commonly occurs in the sales teams.  These rewards range from a standard bonus scheme, to employee of the month incentives, techy prizes as well as holidays. And that’s a great thing right? The more you sell, the more recognition you get, surely this has to be motivating?

But the question is, does this motivate everyone? This blog is going to discuss the pros and cons of a bit of internal competition and when it does and doesn’t work.

Pros of internal, healthy competition;

Higher level of productivity- many people thrive off being in that number one spot, internal competition can push employees to sell more, work harder, and often leads to increased efficiency.

Higher profits- all your sales staff are battling it out to sell as much as they can,  this can only lead to higher profits as long as there are no additional costs or knock on affects.

Learning from competitors- is somebody constantly out performing other members of the team? Others could learn a lot from the way that individual works and sells.

Competition zaps complacency- Internal competition can prevent employees becoming complacent, because no one wants to come last!


However, as always, there are cons to promoting internal competition;

Constantly comparing yourself to others can fuel unhappiness- some people love to win, I am one of those people. However, not everyone is competitive, and if your team isn’t filled with people who are motivated by victory then internal competition isn’t going to work.

A competitive work environment hinders collaboration- Everyone pushing to sell as much as possible is great, but if it becomes all too serious then it can lead to problems. If employees are trying to steal clients from each other it can look very unprofessional. Not only that, it can mean vital information is not being shared by those who are desperate to get the upper hand.

A stressful company culture- the added pressure on employees to out-perform each other can lead to a stressful corporate culture which in turn can lead to an increase in staff turnover.

Before a company decides whether to encourage friendly competition within teams, specifically sales teams, the following things should be considered; are these individuals motivated by competition, will this competition result in reduced collaboration between teams and individuals and can it be done in such a way that is does not cause stress within the teams involved?

Personally, I am all for a bit of competition, having been part of competitive sports teams my whole life I know competition is what drives me. I know this view isn’t shared by all, but it is the manager’s responsibility to identify if this would work within their team and decide whether competition should be encouraged or not.


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