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How to Have Healthy Competition in the Workplace

Many employees experience competition in the workplace. However, for some reason, this can be a very challenging phenomenon to manage. The key to maintaining healthy workplace competition is seeing it as something that can be beneficial for productivity and morale. 

Below is an exploration of how to keep healthy competition in the workplace.

Teach and Promote Healthy Conflict

To foster a healthy competitive workplace, your company needs to set the tone from the top down. Therefore, this includes setting clear expectations for appropriate workplace competition based on fair policy and procedure and creating a culture where conflict can be handled respectfully and productively. 

The act of resolving conflict is much more important than avoiding it. While you want employees to be proud of their work and do well, you also want them to ensure that they aren’t stepping on anyone else’s toes or making them feel threatened.

Reward Your Best Performers

Rewarding the best performers in the workplace is a time-honored tradition. But, to have healthy competition, you need to reward everyone fairly in the workplace. This is especially true if you have employees vying for raises or promotions. 

One way to do this is by creating a point system where employees can earn points for meeting performance goals and being role models for others in the company. This will not only motivate employees to excel, but it will also encourage healthy competition that pushes everyone to do their best. 

This method could especially work for your sales team. Efforts to solidify deals and make sales can be a difficult and draining endeavor, so introducing sales gamification into the workplace can greatly motivate and energize your sales team.

Additionally, encouraging your employees to set goals is important. You want them to be productive and work hard every day; however, you need to leave room for an honest assessment of how they’re doing. 

While you can’t expect a 100% success rate in any business, having a relatively high employee success rate can significantly help cultivate positive workplace competition.

Set Stretch Goals

Another way to encourage healthy competition is to set stretch goals that can be used to earn additional points. These types of goals can be based on targets regarding sales, efficiency, quality, or other metrics. The higher the standards and expectations, the higher the reward. 

You can also set stretch goals based on gaining new customers, retaining current clients, or meeting a customer’s needs. These goals can include customer retention, customer experience, and other customer satisfaction metrics.

Hold Fun Competitions

One of the best ways to get your employees excited about healthy workplace competition is to engage them in fun, creative contests. These contests can be creative or even competitive if that is more appropriate for your industry. 

By providing rewards and incentives for winners, you’ll be able to foster a sense of cooperation instead of a cutthroat environment where people compete against each other.

Give Honest Performance Feedback

You can ensure that employees are doing their job well by providing honest and direct feedback. This type of feedback, however, should be done respectfully. 

Some quick tips for delivering effective and respectful feedback are to deliver it in person or over the phone so you don’t have to rely on written reports. 

The way you deliver the feedback is also crucial. You want to ensure that you are giving the feedback in a way that is non-confrontational.

Don’t Confuse Competition with Feedback

When you go to your employees and provide feedback or criticism, you want to ensure that you are clear with the message. However, if you’re not purposefully comparing one person to another, be careful not to confuse healthy workplace competition with criticism. When employees feel like they are being criticized unfairly, they will do everything in their power to avoid it.

Organize Team Activities 

Also, organize team-based activities. One of the best ways to foster healthy competition is to encourage employees to participate in team-based activities. These types of activities include things like company picnics, group outings, and sporting events. While some of these will be competitive, others can be played as a cooperative effort. 

By encouraging healthy cooperation and fun competition among employees at work, you can foster a healthy workplace that encourages people to do their best work.


Conclusively, the tips listed above will help you create a work environment conducive to healthy competition. 

By using these tips, you’ll be able to encourage employees to do their best in a way that is both positive and productive. 

By rewarding the best workers and giving them praise for their hard work, you’ll be able to build a better overall culture in your organization.