If monotony is the disease, boredom is the infection site. It all starts with a lack of interest; either the job got too easy, or the workflow decreased. Managers know that it’s a slippery slope once employees aren’t being challenged.
Luckily, there is a cure for this infection- and it doesn’t come in a pill bottle. Workplaces with apathetic staff members just need to implement some friendly competition.
All business-minded people are comfortable with competition. The desire to create the best product, the best service, the best whatever, is what fuels leaders to barrel forward. We often don’t consider that that same competitive energy can be healthy between our own internal departments.
Let’s be clear: There’s a big difference between cutthroat struggle and friendly rivalry. We’re advocating for the latter, of course. Nobody wants your conference room to turn into a jousting match to the death.
The smaller teams within Angiodynamics, a medical device manufacturer, managed to figure out healthy, productive competition in an incredible way. It happened organically, but in order to really work, managers had to get involved and continue fostering the energy.
On the production floor at Angiodynamics, the digital signage displays are customized for each separate team. All the production lines can see not only their own progress but also that of other departments.
“‘Why are they green and we’re red?’” the company’s marketing manufacturer said, quoting his teams. “It sparks conversation about how they got there. It would become, ‘We’re 105%, they’re 110%!’”
That excitement will normally naturally die out, so it’s important to add incentives: “Great, we’ll throw a pizza party or something! It promotes competition between line leads on the floor, which is great from a manager’s standpoint, that they’re driving that themselves.”
Competitive energy can be a rush. Managers need to recognize that the drive to achieve goals should be motivating, not infuriating. The whole point of internal competition is to add some excitement to the day -- not to make it miserable.
It can be a tricky line to walk, especially when your teams are driven by numbers. Perhaps it goes without saying, but goals should always, in one way or another, be within reach. That might mean that goals are occasionally modified after bandwidth is fairly evaluated.
Competition, when it’s functioning correctly, will boost morale and a create feeling of team spirit to the workday. Don’t use it to create more work for your employees. Allow it to grow in a natural way, and then guide it with the right system of real, genuine rewards.
Consistent number communication is sure-fire tactic to speeding up productivity. Representing statistical information visually, and sharing data-based information in an appealing way has never been easier. So there’s no excuse to have bored, depressed employees. Up their game with a challenge, and keep them on their toes with numeric evidence that everyone can see.
Remember, you’re all working toward the same finish line, so celebrate when you make it there. (Gatorade shower not required.) Check out the Business Impact Workshop with Angiodynamics for the whole story.