Competition in the workplace can boost enthusiasm, help your employees understand your company’s goals, and encourage everyone to give their work their best effort. Friendly challenges lead to professional growth. Encouraging competition while still supporting teamwork can be a balance that is difficult to achieve, but the following recommendations will help you and your employees take advantage of a competitive spirit.

Be Clear About Your Goals

Make sure everyone is on the same page about the goals that you want to achieve, whether it be an increase in sales or completing tasks more quickly. If no one understands what they’re supposed to be doing, nothing can be achieved.  When your workers reach those set goals, make sure to reward them and acknowledge their efforts. Encourage times for them to share what they’ve learned and their techniques with other employees.

Remind Your Employees That It’s Just a Game

Start by setting the tone for the competition. Make sure everyone knows the your competition is all in good fun. Make it clear that all employees are valued, regardless of whether they win or lose. Contests don’t always have to be serious. You can also incorporate a spirit of playfulness, even if it’s as informal as an obstacle course or a trivia day.

Encourage Calculated Risks

Don’t let your employees get so caught up in the competition that they’re afraid to take risks. Remind them of the value in calculated risks. Don’t disparage people for their mistakes, but instead encourage them to view mistakes as a method of learning. Explain to everyone that they should use the competition as an opportunity for professional development. Discuss how even if some employees don’t succeed, they can still learn from their competitors.

Create Teams

Most employees thrive with a combination of competition and being part of a supportive team. Teamwork encourages employees to cooperate and effectively complete tasks. Teams also even the playing field. Organize your teams so that everyone has a chance. For example, don’t place all the new employees on one team, or have your highest performers on a single team. This way no one feels left out or too far behind in the competition to bother participating.

Competition in the workplace, while helpful, can also be difficult to achieve. Having clear goals and making sure no one loses sight of the goals for the sake of competition is a crucial part of your company’s success.