Competitions between individual employees in the same workplace can lead to a temporary increase in motivation and performance. However, they can lead to a lack of cooperation within the team itself. According to psychologists, people tend to prefer both competition and cooperation. And while competitions at work can be a great way to boost morale and encourage motivation, it’s better to arrange team competitions rather than competitions between individuals. When comparing the benefits of team vs individual competitions, it was found there are many benefits to holding competitions between teams, including increased cooperation and improved teamwork.
What’s the Problem with Individual Competitions?
Sales offices, in particular, tend to utilise competitions to improve performance and morale, but traditional sales contests can often backfire. This is because they tend to pit employees against one another rather than encouraging teamwork and encourage an attitude of ‘every man for himself’ rather than one of cooperation. As a result, it can breed bad feelings between co-workers and cause decreased productivity when employees become demotivated when they fall behind. Tying rewards directly to individual performance can often lead to the unwanted result of an environment that is driven by the fear of failure rather than a desire to succeed.
Competition and Cooperation
According to an article published in Psychology Today in 2009, people typically enjoy cooperating with others during friendly competitions. This is evident in the fact that most people prefer to play team sports or sports that are based on cooperation rather than individual competition. Team sports give participants the chance to cooperate and work with others while they compete against other teams. In contrast to individual competition, competitions held between teams in the workplace can boost motivation and productivity while giving team members a chance to learn how to work together more efficiently.
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 example, holding competitions between sales teams rather than individual agents means that all the members of the team can work together to enjoy the reward, giving even the lowest-performing members of the team a reason to try as hard as they can to help the team win. Comparing team vs individual competitions, an individual sales contest, where just a few of the best salespeople will compete with one another for the prize, leading to everybody else giving up because they know they are not going to win.
Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
It’s important to make sure that everybody is aware of the individual contributions of team members along with the fact that the team is working together to win the prize. While even in a team setting it is usually guaranteed that the top performers are likely going to be the ones contributing more towards the win, it’s essential to recognise everybody in the team for their hard work and effort. Encourage team members to use competitions as an opportunity to work towards professional growth and learn from successful competitors rather than harbouring resentment. Approach competitions as not simply a way to win a prize but also a learning curve for everybody involved no matter where the team places.
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 individual 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 in order to ensure that they delegate the right tasks to the right people in order 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.