Addressing Unhealthy Workplace Competition and Underperforming Employees

As your company grows, more people will join your team, either amplifying its success or dragging it down. But why would the latter be possible if there are more employees pushing your company forward?

When stress due to an intense competition has permeated your workplace, expect a high employee turnover rate and a team that has given up on the concept of unity. Competition is only healthy up to a certain extent, but once it starts to ruin friendships and good relations between different departments, your overall company performance may be impacted, especially if your employees have resorted to desperate measures, such as sabotaging one another.

And with intense competition, there would be underperforming employees. They’re either too overwhelmed by the high tension or have just lost their morale to their overachieving colleagues. As a manager, these issues definitely sound like a nightmare, but it happens, and it isn’t uncommon at all.

Addressing the Unhealthy Competition

You can feel the unhealthy competition in your workplace through the stress that radiates from your team every single day. Under normal circumstances, the success of one employee should reflect positively on their colleagues, but if it’s the opposite, then you need to monitor your team more closely. With the help of your HR manager, gather information from your team regarding their relationship with one another.

Upon confirming that an unhealthy competition is indeed occurring in your team, investigate the source, and develop strategies to ease it into a healthy and friendly competition. If you’ve found out that your employees are unhappy with the way you treat them, for example, determine what behavior of yours needs to change; are you favoring one department over the other? If so, practice treating your entire team fairly.

You can also implement a powerful employee rewards program that allows your team to nominate one another for an award. The awards don’t necessarily have to be based on their accomplishments; it can be as simple as a note of appreciation, just to let your team know that you recognize not just their hard work, but their amazing work ethics, too. You can also reward inter-department collaborations to encourage teamwork. This has big chances of motivating them to perform better for the right reasons.

Most importantly, engage with your team. Create a safe environment for them to communicate their concerns. Spring to action right away when an employee relations issue comes up so that your team will always be assured that you put value to their concerns and feedback.

Motivating an Underperforming Employee

Employee interview

When you have a regular tradition of ranking your team according to their achievements, you’re bound to have an employee that’s always in the bottom. Before assuming straightaway that they’re a weed in your team that needs to be fired, analyze the root cause of their situation first.

You have to accept that you’re accountable if it turns out that they’re a bad fit for the job you hired them for. You can help hone their skills through training, or by sitting down with them to talk about your expectations. There could be chances that a misunderstanding between the two of you has occurred, leading to their mediocre performance.

Be sure that you’re exhibiting fairness. If your dissatisfaction is caused by personal feelings, sort out your displeasure first, and approach the problem with objectivity. Involve the HR and your employee’s immediate supervisor as well.

Once you already have a plan laid out for them, sit them down for a meeting to ask if they’re interested to be trained. If they’re willing to improve, then you can expect a boost in their performance and morale in time.

It would also help to stop ranking your team so that you can promote a healthier competition. With a team that lifts each other up, you can pride yourself on being an entrepreneur to truly values their employees’ happiness.

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