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Increase Employee Motivation with a Healthy Competition

Are your employees unmotivated? Are you looking for a way to get their enthusiasm up? If so, consider creating some healthy competition in the workplace. A competition can often mean increased morale, increased motivation, and best of all, increased productivity.

However, before setting up a competition between employee A and employee B, think twice. Competition between only two employees is bound to lead to hard feelings, decreased morale, and decreased productivity. Think about it. You may have one winner. But, you have one loser focusing all their time and attention on that loss.

Instead, create teams to compete against each other. Be sure to choose the team members wisely. Although it may be fun to say "boys versus girls," this type of competition is not recommended. The male team may become overly competitive, while the females may become argumentative.

Consider building your teams in a way that each gender is equally represented. For example, each team may have 3 males and 3 females. If a team has 5 males and only 1 female, chances are the female will resist speaking up or contributing.

So, now that you have your teams set up, you must think of a goal that will increase productivity and is attainable by either team. For example, you could set the goal as "Increase sales by $2,000 in one month." Be specific in your goal. Set a specific amount and time frame. Each team will have a clear understanding of what is expected.

When considering the financial amount to place on the goal ($2,000), consider this: both teams will be trying equally hard to hit or get as close as possible to $2,000. Therefore, with both team's contribution, you may in fact increase sales by $4,000. When deciding the financial figure, be realistic.

As the competition takes off, how are you going to keep the teams motivated? Consider hanging a dry-erase board by the time clock. Each day, give the total increase amounts each team contributed. As the team members see their numbers going up (and also see their competition's numbers rising), they will continue to work hard to reach the ultimate goal. On the board, offer motivational and inspirational quotes to keep the ultimate goal in mind.

Now, this is the hard and often tricky part. What exactly is the prize going to be? Because it is a competition, it is obvious that you will have one winner and one loser. Or, instead could you make all team members winners? Offer a small prize (movie tickets, $10 gift cards, free car wash, etc.) to all members who participated in and worked hard to contribute to the goal. However, offer a larger prize to the winning team. For example, you may offer a $50 or more gift card to each member of that team.

If you choose to not offer at least a small prize to all participating employees, you will quickly see a loss in productivity. All of their hard work didn't deliver a direct benefit to them. However, by letting each team member know their contribution was appreciated, morale and motivation will increase. Also, some competitions will force the losers to perform some demeaning task (clean the office bathroom, do the winning team's cleaning chores, etc.) However, such "punishments" are often discouraged. Although it was created in fun, the losing team can quickly become bitter and angry.

While many discourage competition as it can lead to hurt feelings and decreased morale, a healthy competition constructed in the proper way can actually boost all of the participating member's enthusiasm and productivity. Be sure to acknowledge all employees' contributions, with an emphasis on the winners, of course.

About Sozo Firm

Sozo Firm helps startup companies, small to mid-sized businesses & nonprofit organizations thrive through developing and implementing business optimization strategies. Our efficiency consulting addresses business processes, customer service, employees, marketing, public relations, and communication. Our internet strategy consulting addresses website usability, reputation management, social media, and internet marketing. Sozo Firm is based out of New Freedom, Pennsylvania. Contact our senior consultant, Andrew Jensen, at 800.460.SOZO to learn how we can serve you.