Today's workplace is has become more competitive than ever. At least 33% of corporate managers say workers are more competitive with their co-workers than ten years ago. However, too much one-upmanship and too little concern for the organization can be detrimental to both employer and employees. Studies show that 43% of employees would leave if their workplace was too competitive—meaning there's nothing "healthy" about this kind of competition.
On the other hand, a workplace culture that encourages collaboration brings a host of benefits. Collaboration requires team members to put their heads together to excel and move forward as a unit rather than as individuals. Teamwork increases employee engagement, and engaged employees are 17% more productive—and their companies are 21% more profitable, too. Employees engaged in a collaborative environment are typically healthier, happier, more loyal, and feel more valued by the organization than those who always have to be better than everyone else.
A culture of collaboration is great, but healthy competition is beneficial, too
A complete lack of competition can be just as damaging. When there is no sense of challenge, employees can become apathetic and lackadaisical.
Like collaboration, healthy competition challenges the employee or team while emphasizing the success or improvement of the organization. The goal of healthy competition is for each person to see how much they can contribute to the bigger picture. At the same time, healthy competition allows employees to stretch and explore new potential and interests while helping the team reach its goals.
Compared to the self-serving variety, healthy competition can be rallying and generate energy for the team to tackle challenges together. For example, you might challenge a group of employees or teams to:
- Complete a skills education course within an allotted time. The skill improves job performance and thus boosts operational efficiency, and the individual (or team) is awarded public recognition and perhaps a team lunch
- Come up with the best idea for a new product or solution. Often the best product ideas come from someone outside the product development team. A friendly inter-departmental competition boosts morale and renews everyone's interest in making the company more competitive.
- Work together to meet a sales goal or beat a competitor. It's far more effective (and more fun) than an individual trying to meet their numbers alone.
- Gamify any type of challenge. Encourage employees to come up with new ways to make reaching a goal fun while having a friendly competition amongst each other.
Building and fostering a culture of collaboration and healthy competition
Employee collaboration and healthy competition can both be integral parts of corporate culture and keys to the success of the team and the business—if that culture is adequately developed and encouraged.
However, a healthy corporate culture doesn't just "happen." If you aren't deliberate and proactive in creating your culture, you might not like what develops independently. You must first define the values that culture will embody, then telegraph these values to your workers repeatedly, integrating them tightly and consistently into how you communicate with your employees.
The lack of constant and consistent messaging can lead to a dysfunctional culture. People naturally gravitate to others like them, forming cliques that close off lines of communication and sharing with others in the organization. So, if you want your corporate culture to embrace openness, share ideas, and encourage each other to stretch and grow, you'll have to reinforce those ideals regularly. Otherwise, employees will quickly fall back to working in a vacuum or silos, protecting their turf, and trying to one-up each other.
Digital signage can reinforce workplace goals of collaboration and competition
If fostering collaboration and healthy competition requires such regular communication of these core values, how do organizations do this in an engaging and even entertaining way? (Hint: Having employees read and initial an employee handbook once a year is hardly effective at engraining these principles and encouraging their practice.) There are many communications and collaboration tools available, like email, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and many others. However, these are useful for employees to engage and collaborate after they are connected. Making employees aware in the first place and actively encouraging their participation is a different story.
Digital signage can help. With a digital signage content management system, you can create, schedule, and play content that:
- Reiterates and reinforces your company's core values—including collaboration and competition.
- Showcases examples of collaboration and, if possible, the resulting business value.
- Piques interest and invites participation in collaborative panel discussions, brainstorms, and other forums that will benefit from different viewpoints.
- Informs and encourages participation in companywide and regional competitions, like showing sales teams' progress towards quarterly goals or how different facilities are meeting safety targets. (A little healthy competition can motivate the troops, helping move the organization toward its goals more quickly.)
- Promote local contests and congratulate "winners" via signage at individual locations. Or have a friendly "this-store-vs-that-store" contest and show photos of the winning team.
- Turns almost any activity into a game. Take a high-pressure activity involving quotas, scorecards, and KPIs and turn it into an animated dashboard with scorecards to show how everyone's hard work is paying off.
- Provides calls-to-action to point employees where to find out more and participate in these or myriad other opportunities.
- Makes collaboration and competition fun, not dull and boring.
With digital signage, you can cultivate and foster the type of corporate culture you want by getting the message out, making employees aware of opportunities, showing them how to get started, and presenting the results of their participation.
Connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter for the latest about our ReflectView digital signage content management platform, Reflect Xperience, and all our solutions. Better yet, contact us to find out how to help you build and reinforce a corporate culture of collaboration and healthy competition you—and your employees—can be proud of.
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