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Harnessing the Power of a Competitive Work Environment

Many people immediately get a sinking feeling when they hear the word “competition.”

Maybe they’re taken back to being picked last in an elementary school gym class, not getting chosen for a promotion, or not getting accepted into the college of their dreams the day everyone got their acceptance letters. Whatever it is, the memory associated with competition is probably a bad one.

But what if a competitive environment was actually a good thing?

In my experience as a recruiter, I’ve found that competitive work environments are an incredible way to boost the productivity and satisfaction of your employees. Being competitive at work can be motivational, encouraging everyone to put forth their best effort and get the recognition they deserve.

In this piece, we’ll explain what a competitive work environment is and touch on just a few of the ways a competitive work environment can create good memories rather than painful ones.

What is a competitive work environment?

A competitive work environment centers around a concrete set of monetary or career-based goals. These environments have a standardized structure, whether it’s a formalized organizational ladder, quarterly quotas, or commissions. You might find competitive environments in sales, recruiting, and customer success roles in any field or other positions at startups with high growth potential.

Who fits well in a competitive work environment?

Although this may sound cliche, anyone can assimilate to a competitive work environment. As a kid, I didn’t consider myself competitive, but I entered a recruiting career straight out of college, which forced me to learn how to adjust. For me, the rush of beating my own records is what drove me forward then and continues to motivate me now.

Having realistic expectations, not comparing yourself to others, and competing for something you really want or believe in are the biggest tips I have for someone who is about to enter a competitive workforce. You’ll get energy from seeing your results, which helps you challenge yourself to set and achieve higher and higher goals.

Four main benefits of a competitive work environment

There are many advantages of a competitive work environment, but in my opinion, there are four that really stand out:

  1. Positive reinforcement – Every time you outperform yourself or your peers, you get reassurance and recognition from your boss and team. Not only does this feel good, it subconsciously propels you forward, desiring more and more of that in the future.
  1. Inspiration – Seeing others hit their numbers can inspire you to hit yours. When the going gets tough, you can remember how hard they worked in order to get where they are. Channeling that energy toward your goals will help you attain them faster.
  1. Reward – One of the best perks of working in a competitive work environment is that there’s a huge payoff when you excel. Meeting your KPIs for the month or quarter can come with an extra-large paycheck or a promotion that will get you closer to your career aspirations.
  1. Creativity – When you’re up against others who have a similar skill set and are evaluated by the same criteria, you have to find ways to stand out and use your unique qualities to your advantage. In that way, competitive environments spark creativity, making people feel fulfilled and accomplished. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Remember that working in a competitive environment doesn’t mean everyone is out to get you. In fact, most of the time, it’s the exact opposite situation.

People who are senior to you or have been at the company longer are likely to offer advice and commiseration. Some companies even incentivize people to become mentors to new grads or new hires, compensating them in some way for helping the newbies get settled in fast and start producing results quickly. So don’t be afraid to contact the people you look up to and learn from their example.

So if you’re ready to give a competitive work environment a try, start by reaching out to one of our expert recruiters at Planet Group. One of our staff members will match you up with a company that is looking for folks who are eager to flex their competitive muscles.

Photo Credit: Canva