Using Competition to Motivate Employees During Training

Designing Digitally


 Using Competition to Motivate Employees During Training

The concept of competition has changed its meaning over the years. Competitiveness became the differentiator between becoming a loser or a winner. This is a harsh definition and one that is changing fast. Depending on the environment, competition can stifle or inspire someone to push through and win. But, when it comes to employee training, hard competition can work against your business goals. If employees feel pressured into winning, they might fail big time.

The solution is redefining competition so that employees enjoy a little one-on-one match, or a team effort to reach this month's goals.

So, how can you use competition to motivate employees during training? And, better yet, what type of competition is conducive to higher job performance?

Use Incentives

To motivate your employees to succeed, use incentives. Winning something is, after all, the goal of the competition. But, be careful how you implement those incentives so that they motivate all team members and not just your top performers. If you shift the end goal from winning to success in taking small steps towards a bigger goal, this incentive-based competition will feel much lighter and even fun.

Value Your Staff

It's important that all your employees feel equally valued and understood. You need to align your business goals with employee personal performance goals. You can start by sitting down with each team member and finding out what their personal work goal is. This will make the process feel personal and gives a higher meaning to competition in staff training.

Shift Mentalities

Make sure you acknowledge every success no matter how small. Incorporating a win-win mentality will make it easier for your employees to keep up, continue learning, and stay engaged and motivated. This means adopting the belief that failure is also a success because there is a lot to learn from failure. This way of thinking will allow your staff to surpass their limitations and become comfortable with a growth mentality.

Breed Cooperation

Building on the previous point, using competition in employee training can be very efficient if you change the way people look at the concept of competition. In the context of teamwork, competition should lead to cooperation. Cooperating team members have a lot more to win than reaching the monthly sales quota. They learn from each other, motivate each other to do better, and are happy when their coworkers succeed.

To do this, you can introduce gamification or game-based learning (GBL) into the training process. This can lead to a tight sense of community as these learning approaches will unite people under the same goal rather than keep them struggling individually.

Game-Based Learning

So, GBL is good for your company! Why is that? Because everyone loves playing, and learning through play is one of the most efficient ways of acquiring new skills and knowledge.

Game-based learning can increase employee training motivation. That's because GBL takes out the fear of failure and allows learners to make mistakes with zero consequences. In this case, competition becomes a fun element and not a stress factor. Learners that compete in game-based-learning are:

  • More engaged and motivated

  • Eager to motivate each other

  • More likely to learn from failure since they fail together and can discuss what went wrong and what can be done differently

  • Better at losing


Competition doesn't have to be stressful. You just need to redefine it to fit your business and your employee training goals. Offering incentives, encouraging cooperation and working to build a competitively-friendly community will motivate your employees to perform better at their jobs. 

To motivate employees during training you first have to do your homework. Find out more about how games can enrich your employees learning experience and get in touch with our team to explore the training options that are best for your company!

Related Articles: Six Tips on How to Motivate Adult Learners and How You Can Motivate Your Employees to Complete Training Courses