My account

You control your data

We use cookies to tailor the experience of creating resumes and cover letters. For these reasons, we may share your usage data with third parties. You can find more information about how we use cookies on our Cookies Policy. If you would like to set your cookies preferences, click the Settings button below. To accept all cookies, click Accept.

Settings Accept

Cookie settings

Click on the types of cookies below to learn more about them and customize your experience on our Site. You may freely give, refuse or withdraw your consent. Keep in mind that disabling cookies may affect your experience on the Site. For more information, please visit our Cookies Policy and Privacy Policy.

Choose type of cookies to accept

Analytics

These cookies allow us to analyze our performance to offer you a better experience of creating resumes and cover letters. Analytics related cookies used on our Site are not used by Us for the purpose of identifying who you are or to send you targeted advertising. For example, we may use cookies/tracking technologies for analytics related purposes to determine the number of visitors to our Site, identify how visitors move around the Site and, in particular, which pages they visit. This allows us to improve our Site and our services.

Performance and Personalization

These cookies give you access to a customized experience of our products. Personalization cookies are also used to deliver content, including ads, relevant to your interests on our Site and third-party sites based on how you interact with our advertisements or content as well as track the content you access (including video viewing). We may also collect password information from you when you log in, as well as computer and/or connection information. During some visits, we may use software tools to measure and collect session information, including page response times, download errors, time spent on certain pages and page interaction information.

Advertising

These cookies are placed by third-party companies to deliver targeted content based on relevant topics that are of interest to you. And allow you to better interact with social media platforms such as Facebook.

Necessary

These cookies are essential for the Site’s performance and for you to be able to use its features. For example, essential cookies include: cookies dropped to provide the service, maintain your account, provide builder access, payment pages, create IDs for your documents and store your consents.

To see a detailed list of cookies, click here.

Save preferences

Positive Rivals at Work [2020 Study]

They say a productive work environment is one that encourages competition between employees. We’ve asked over 1,000 Americans what they think about it. Here’s what we learned.

Maciej Duszyński
Career Expert
Positive Rivals at Work [2020 Study]

positive rivals at work

 

If you work a 40-hour workweek, you’ll spend roughly 2,000 hours every year with co-workers, managers, and office comrades (even with a holiday or two). 

 

Understanding how to build meaningful relationships at work doesn’t just boost communication and productivity around the office; it can be crucial for feeling good about where you work and what you do. Of course, when it comes to the people you work with, healthy competition can be just as important for building trust and fostering open dialogue as anything else. 

 

So, how often do rivalries at work take a more positive turn? To find out, we surveyed over 1,000 people to understand how many see workplace competition as a positive, how companies can promote constructive rivalries, and the overall impact controlled conflicts can have on productivity and other accomplishments. Read on to see what we uncovered. 

 

Competition Status Quo

 

positive rivals at work

 

Experts say workplace rivalries can help motivate and inspire employees to work harder. However, competition can spiral out of control, creating a hostile and negative work environment. 

 

More than 4 in 5 employees said they competed with a co-worker. Nearly 70% identified the competition as healthy, but the remainder said it was unhealthy and motivated by self-interest. 

 

In most cases, men and women stuck to their own gender when it came to their workplace rivals (either positive or negative). Roughly 84% of women with a positive rivalry at work indicated their competition was with another woman, while around 87% of men said their competition was with another man. While women were equally likely to say their negative rivalries were also with women, nearly 1 in 3 men identified having a negative rivalry with a woman instead.

 

Similarly, most employees limited their in-office competitions to people with the same job level. More than 70% of entry-level, intermediate, and middle-management employees stuck to rivals in the same position, but more than 1 in 3 senior managers indicated their rivalry was with someone in a middle-management position instead

 

Building a Better Work Atmosphere 

 

positive rivals at work

 

The difference between healthy and unhealthy workplace competition may depend on the effort companies put into fostering positive relationships between employees. 

 

Employees reporting having positive rivalries at work were roughly 6 percentage points more likely to work for a company that gave honest performance feedback, followed by learning opportunities and rewards for top performers. Compared to 28% of people with negative competition in their office, 39% with positive rivalries indicated their company set realistic goals. The biggest gaps were found among employees who indicated their companies created a positive atmosphere, provided team bonding exercises, and had transparent communication with team members. 

 

Roughly 1 in 5 employees with negative rivalries indicated their office did none of the positive reinforcements we asked about. In contrast, those with positive competition were more than twice as likely to indicate their companies created an environment that promotes healthy competition. 

 

Cause and Effect

 

positive rivals at work

 

Positive competition between co-workers isn’t just good for building relationships or improving morale. Employees who reported having a positive rival at work were nearly twice as likely as those with a negative rival to receive a promotion. 

 

When asked about their workplace productivity, 63% of employees with a positive rival indicated feeling more productive because of the competition, compared to 51% of those with negative rivalries.

 

Employees with positive rivalries were also more likely to be moderately or extremely satisfied with their job and reported higher salaries, on average. Compared to those with no rival (£44,500) and those with negative rivalries (£53,000), employees who had healthy competition earned over £57,000 a year, on average. Around 60% of those with positive rivalries also indicated being satisfied with their job. 

 

Competitive Achievements

 

positive rivals at work

 

Having healthy competition can also help you achieve personal and professional goals. Employees with a positive rival were nearly twice as likely as those with a negative rival to reach an achievement. During their tenure at their current company, 58% of employees with competition reported receiving a raise, followed by those who earned a promotion (48%), a leadership role (almost 44%), and recognition for a project (about 37%). 

 

Having someone to challenge them was a compelling motivator for many employees. More than half indicated they took on more projects to compete with their rival, and almost 44% admitted to working overtime. Among those with positive rivals, competitors were identified primarily as confident, hardworking, and intelligent. Employees with negative rivalries described their competitors as predominantly arrogant, argumentative, and aggressive. 

 

Finding a Healthy Work Environment 

 

Healthy workplace competition can motivate you to take on tasks that lead to promotions, raises, and new opportunities. Not every rivalry is healthy, though, and negative competition around the office can leave you feeling worse about your job and the people you work with. The difference between a healthy rivalry and unhealthy competition may come down to your work environment and how far your company goes to promote better team building and communication.

 

At ResumeLab, we know how important the right job and workplace environment can be to your personal growth and development. In just three easy steps, our state-of-the-art technology will help you craft the perfect CV, CV, or cover letter to make sure your application gets noticed. With expertly crafted templates, our CV tools can help boost your chances of getting hired at your dream job. Start building your CV today at ResumeLab.com

 

Methodology and Limitations 

 

To collect the data shown above, we conducted a survey of 1,022 respondents who were employed full or part time. Respondents were asked if they felt there were people in their office who they were competitive with, with 842 respondents answering yes, and 180 answering no. Respondents were asked to answer the survey while thinking of the co-worker they were most competitive with. A definition of healthy competition was used to define “positive rivals,” and a definition of unhealthy competition was used to define “negative rivals.” 

 

Of the 842 respondents with competition, 586 identified their co-worker as a positive rival, and 256 identified their co-worker as a negative rival. The 180 respondents who reported no competition were identified as having no rivals. The respondent pool was 53.5% male, 46.3% female, and less than 1% nonbinary. 

 

The data were calculated to exclude outliers. We did this by finding initial averages and standard deviations for the data. Then, the standard deviation was multiplied by three and added to the initial average. Any data point above the calculated number was then excluded from the data.

 

Because the survey relies on self-reporting, issues such as telescoping and exaggeration can influence responses. An attention-check question was included in the survey to make sure respondents did not randomly answer.

 

Fair Use Statement

 

Sharing the findings of this study doesn’t have to be a competition. If your readers are interested in learning more about healthy rivalries at work, feel free to utilise the findings and graphics in this report for any noncommercial use with a link back to this page as a credit to our team of contributors.

Rate my article: positive rivals at work
Thank you for voting
Average: 0 (0 votes)
Maciej Duszyński
Maciej Duszynski is a career advice writer and a resume expert at ResumeLab. With over 8 years of experience in recruitment, hiring, and training, Maciej shares insider HR knowledge to equip every job seeker with professional advice to nail the job hunt. His insights have been featured by the Chicago Tribune, SparkPeople, Toggl, Referral Rock, and Databox, among others. Maciej has helped job candidates at all stages of their career paths, from interns to directors to C-suite members, to thrive in their job. His mission is to help you find the right opportunity and create a job application that gets you the career you deserve. Maciej holds a Master’s degree in English with a specialization in communication and education management.

Was it interesting? Here are similar articles

Pareto Principle & the 80/20 Rule (Updated for 2021)

Pareto Principle & the 80/20 Rule (Updated for 2021)

The Pareto Principle soaked into the fabric of modern society. Everyone knows it’s about the 80/20 disparity. But how did it start? How does it apply to real-life situations?

Maciej Duszyński
Maciej Duszyński
Career Expert