Workplace competitions can boost motivation and performance temporarily. Yet, they might reduce team cooperation. Psychologists note people enjoy both competition and cooperation. While workplace contests can elevate morale, team competitions often work better than individual ones. Team competitions promote cooperation and teamwork. Here we discuss the benefits of Team vs Individual competitions in the workplace.

What’s the Problem with Individual Competitions?

Sales offices often use competition to boost performance. However, traditional contests can backfire. They might promote rivalry over teamwork, fostering a self-centred attitude. This can create tension among colleagues and decrease productivity. Employees might feel demotivated if they lag. Linking rewards to individual achievements can create a fear-driven environment.

Competition and Cooperation

A 2009 Psychology Today article highlighted people’s preference for cooperative competitions. Many prefer team sports over solo ones. Team sports foster cooperation against opposing teams. Similarly, team competitions in workplaces enhance motivation and productivity. They also teach efficient teamwork.

Boosting Group Productivity

To use competitions for good in the workplace, it’s wise to organise group contests that boost teamwork and build morale for all participants compared to just the best performers. For effective workplace competitions, focus on group contests. They enhance teamwork and morale. Competing as sales teams, not individuals motivates everyone. Even lower-performing members contribute to the team’s success. In individual contests, only top performers might compete, discouraging others.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Ensure everyone recognizes individual contributions within teams. While top performers might contribute more, acknowledge everyone’s efforts. Encourage teams to view contests as growth opportunities. Learn from top competitors instead of feeling resentful. Treat competitions as learning experiences, regardless of the outcome.


There are several opportunities for rewarding the winning team. To discourage a sense of resentment or hostility between groups, you may want to consider a prize structure with first, second, and third places for example, so that teams who don’t win are still rewarded for their hard work and effort. Corporate awards like engraved trophies are a great idea since they are rewarding for the winning team to receive and can be kept in the office as a testament to the effort that was put in. The corporate awards from Joblot work perfectly as they can be personalised, adding a personal touch to the final trophy your team receive. You can also get 1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place trophies if you want to ensure each team that took part feels rewarded.

Benefits for Teams

When done right, team competitions can have plenty of benefits for each member of the team and the team working together as a whole. Unlike individual teams that foster resentment, working together in groups is less likely to lead to these detrimental effects in the workplace. While competing together, teams will need to build strong relationships with each other, improve their communication skills, and work out what the strengths and weaknesses are of each team member to ensure that they delegate the right tasks to the right people to be in with a better chance of taking home the prize. Holding team competitions will strengthen teams and improve workplace performance overall.

So when comparing team vs individual competitions, it has been shown that Whether you hold team contests regularly or it’s more of a one-off event for your company, there are some great benefits of friendly competition.

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As an experienced business and finance writer I understand the corporate landscape and the driving forces behind it. Over the years I’ve shared my insight and knowledge with key industry publications and dedicated my time to showing how business leaders can make their organisations more effective.