Business HR

Designing a competitive company culture

In the world of business, a little bit of competition can go a long way. In fact, you could say that capitalism thrives on the competitive nature of people and has been built on competition as a foundation which can pave the way for progress and development at unparalleled speeds.

Entire industries can benefit from the fighting spirit and the productivity that can follow and because of this, making competition an active part of your company’s culture should then make sense and give your organisation an edge over the others.

By optimising company culture, managers can control the way its workforce perceives their individual roles within the business and also foster initiatives/incentives that are in line with the growth of the company and its people.

Here are a few tips that can help you give your company culture a tactfully competitive edge.

Match employees for performance

Randomly pairing employees to work together may prove successful but consider strategically pairing coworkers to set them up to benefit from competition. Matching high and low performers or dedicated veteran employees with interns can all work to your favour if they rely on each other and build synergy. Competitive pairings can offer the ultimate opportunity to make use of mentorship or direct coaching from top workers. In addition, it can allow more people to become engaged in the work they do, sharing ideas, brainstorming through challenges and achieving fulfilment with every milestone.

Don’t over-emphasise rewards

When it comes to creating competition within the workplace, it can be very important to note that the main goal shouldn’t be to just boost the bottom line. Creative competitions should relate to skill development, fostering stronger relationships and instilling productive qualities in your people and between departments. Offering rewards in one form or another to winning teams or individuals can be great, just don’t overemphasise the incentive. Your team should know that the overall mission goes beyond just short-term achievements.

Collaboration over aggressive competition

In many cases, you should try to establish a balance between collaboration and competitive spirit. Team building initiatives can help instil that idea into your workforce. Competition between members of your organisation can be good to a certain extent but you probably wouldn’t want it to come to a point where collaboration is no longer a possibility. Consider holding team-based competitions that focus on improving performance through unity. Initiatives like these can improve a company’s performance and keep coworkers motivated/working together.

Find your competitive sweet spot

If a culture lacks competitiveness, employees might not be motivated enough to think outside the box or go the extra mile. However, too much competition can add stress, increase anxiety and be suffocating for everyone in general. You should figure out where your sweet spot lies and where the level of competition is at its optimum level.

Here’s something you can keep in mind: Daniel P. Gross, a fellow at Harvard Business School, found that engaging with one or two competitors boosted employees’ creativity to a point where original and innovative ideas were being produced.

Knowledge is power

Equip your employees with education. Invest in employees’ development and they may be able to retain a competitive edge that would be hard to match outside of the company. Design programs for education and development to keep your employees sharp within their respective career fields. Send them to workshops, give them access to resources and support their objectives in as many ways as you can.

Keep it fun

Work can be a lot easier when you’re enjoying yourself. Fun should be given more of a place in the organisation and it should be respected as a tool that can help build great company cultures. Include employee gamification to challenge your people in playful ways or create opportunities for them to prove their strengths/talents using innovation and creativity. You know what they say right? All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

At the end of the day, you should view the people in your organisation as part of the very foundation of its capabilities and as a sort of mirror, reflecting the management and qualities of the organisation’s leaders. By injecting a dash of competitiveness into your work culture, you might not only set your business up for massive success, but you could also be building teams that exceed your wildest expectations.


At TraitQuest, we aim to bridge the gap between employee and employer relationship by providing a robust talent management, employee engagement and talent retention system. As strong believers in growth and progress, our continuous efforts leverage on data-driven decision making, derived traits profiling, workplace gamification via a well-rounded multi-level engagement platform which ensures organisation to achieve top level productivity. To sum up our value proposition – we provide enterprise cloud-based solutions for workflow management and collaboration to drive employees’ motivation and engagement, cultivate a healthy corporate culture thereby retaining your valued employees. We are one of the recipients of HR Vendor of the Year 2018 for Best HR Start Up Company in Malaysia.

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