Implementing good competitive strategies for the work environment changes the course of a company. If the managers and the human resources team design a healthy and efficient methodology in this area, the results will be noticeable. Not only will the organization itself become more efficient, but the employees will also feel more motivated.
Michael E. Porter, an academic expert in economics, has a well-known book called Competitive Strategy. In this work, he addresses the keys to succeed in such a purpose. Clarifying goals, encouraging teams, or favoring conflict resolution are the backbones of great value. In the following text, we’ll give you all the tools to achieve this end.
In an increasingly dynamic global market, providing companies with a competitive internal climate can increase their projection, as long as it’s done properly.
Competitive strategies for the work environment
Is there really a chance to create a “healthy” competitive environment? The answer is yes, and the best tactic in these cases is to increase competitiveness without diminishing the quality of the work environment. Global Business Review points out in an article that, although this term is now popular, it requires a revision in order to push it in the right direction.
One way to get it right is to use a motivational approach that inspires and induces self-improvement and the ability to achieve. Although they’re experiences that aren’t exempt from certain amounts of stress, they should also be given skills to manage it. In essence, maximizing the efforts of workers through competitive behavior requires an adequate design, which we’ll describe to you below.
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1. Define goals and promote commitment
If, as a leader, you want to introduce competitive strategies, it’s advisable to first clarify the components of the organizational culture. Your employees must know the values, beliefs, and objectives that define the company. BMC Health Services Research highlights in a publication the importance of this purpose.
To increase competitiveness in the work environment, it’s advisable to start with some preliminary guidelines such as the ones we’ll list below:
- Explain to your employees what the goals of the company are.
- Make sure that the objectives set for the team are very clear.
- Motivate and inspire so that they feel committed to the goals.
- Let them see that they’re a team and that all members are relevant.
- Hold regular meetings to assess how goals are being achieved.
- Favor the expression of ideas, proposals, and opinions.
2. Create collaborative work teams that compete with each other
Forming small collaborative groups to challenge each other can drive innovation. If the characteristics of the company allow it, it’s a positive strategy. On the one hand, you generate teams of people who will unite synergies; on the other, you’ll boost competitiveness between various departments; all of this is evident in productivity. For example, you can follow these steps:
- Implement several teams of a few employees and give them similar goals.
- Each team must work collaboratively in order to obtain better results than the others.
- Encourage them and offer them feedback on a regular basis.
3. Set incentives
It makes no sense to appeal to the effort and self-improvement of employees if we don’t reward the achievements obtained. Frontiers in Psychology talks in an article about incentives and their benefits, alluding to how they increase motivation. To do this, keep the following recommendations in mind:
- Make use of praise and verbal reinforcement.
- Establish different types of incentives: Bonuses or days off, for example.
- Encouraging a group or a person should never imply sanctioning those who don’t achieve those purposes.
- From the beginning, clarify the incentives that can be obtained if the established objectives are achieved.
Healthy competitiveness in a work environment benefits from incentives and feedback from the leader.
4. Provide the appropriate means
An organization must provide employees with the appropriate means to carry out their work. Therefore, in the event that you wish to implement a competitive culture, you must first assess whether the company has appropriate and sufficient resources. Efficient, innovative, and productive work is only achieved if the conditions are ideal. Look at some suggestions:
- Provide innovative media.
- Conduct audits to assess whether the company’s resources are adequate.
- It’s important to implement and invest in the constant training of workers.
- Hold periodic meetings for employees to present their needs in this matter.
5. Promote an ethical work culture
Research reported in Personality and Individual Differences indicates that there are those who have personality traits that are ideal for competitive environments. That is, there are those who feel motivated in these contexts. Others, on the other hand, feel more inhibited.
Likewise, we can’t ignore the fact that, on occasion, competition between workers can give rise to dishonest or unethical conduct. This is a variable that must be avoided. Let’s see how:
- Specify which activities can’t be carried out.
- Design a document that regulates the sanction of these behaviors.
- Establish channels to report dishonest actions in this regard.
- Implement prevention training in this regard from human resources.
6. Training in skills, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence
Among the most interesting strategies for competitiveness in the work environment is training in emotional intelligence. Thanks to these skills, we enable the employee to regulate emotions, good communication, empathy, and motivation. An example of these benefits is found in research carried out at La Trobe University, in Australia.
Also, and no less important, in order to avoid tensions and problems among workers, it’s a good idea to train them in conflict resolution. In this way, and with these two spheres, you’ll create an organizational environment dominated by respectful and healthy competitiveness.
Sometimes, highly competitive work environments lead to dishonest behavior such as harassment between workers.
7. The importance of offering feedback
As the leader of an organization, it’s essential to set an example and be part of every flow and process in the company itself. If you want competitiveness to increase efficiency, innovation, and better productivity, you must offer feedback (Hardavella et al., 2017). Take note of the methodology that you can follow:
- Raise team morale.
- Promote self-improvement.
- Offer them motivating challenges.
- Be constructive, positive, and encouraging.
- Appreciate the efforts of employees.
- Show them that you trust their worth.
- Offers guidance to improve their work.
- Hold individual and group meetings.
- Worry about the needs of the worker.
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How do you know if you’ve implemented competitive strategies inappropriately?
Sometimes, when introducing new competitive strategies for the work environment, what we obtain are failed results. As surprising as it may seem to us, there are companies that fail in this practice. When an organization prioritizes productivity over employee conditions, problems arise.
What’s recommended in these cases is to establish mechanisms to assess the effects of the application of a culture of competitiveness. Company psychologists or the human resources team must assess the quality of the work environment.
It’s decisive to consider that there are always moral limits that shouldn’t be exceeded in competitive labor scenarios. Therefore, when an employee considers their colleagues to be their “enemies,” dysfunctional behaviors don’t take long to emerge.
A work climate dominated by hostility doesn’t bring benefits to the organization. The following are dynamics that demonstrate a misguided application of the culture of competitiveness:
- Bullying situations.
- Stressed employees.
- The accumulation of problems.
- Innovative ideas don’t appear.
- There are always internal conflicts.
- Workers arrive discouraged.
- Poor communication prevails.
- Some workers leave the company.
- Loss of work due to anxiety and depression.
- Delays and absenteeism occur.
- There’s no increase in productivity.
- You have conformist employees who don’t try hard.
How to solve the problems of poorly implemented competitiveness
If you want to solve these problems, you need to completely reformulate your applied competitiveness strategies. To do this, hold joint meetings between all departments in order to learn about the situation and establish changes.
Keep in mind that only when the worker is cared for and encouraged will you obtain their commitment and the success of the company itself.