Rewarding the individual members of your teams is great in terms of improving employee performance and retention, but if you want to build a great team, you need to focus on incentives that reward the team as a whole, or, that gain recognition within the team.
What the research tells us about teams
There is now solid research from Google’s Project Aristotle that tells us that good, cohesive teams outperform stiffer, less integrated teams across the board.
The research also suggests that there are two primary qualities of a good team. A commitment to inclusion, allowing all members to participate, and a quality they call “average social sensitivity,” which is the awareness of how team members are participating, feeling, and reacting.
Average social sensitivity is also related to emotional intelligence (EQ), read more about that here.
How can you build a sense of mutual respect and belonging?
One of the best tools a manager has for building a team is a system of rewards or incentives. The rewards can range from branded items of apparel or personal use, such as coffee cups, pens, and notebooks, to favored spots on bulletin boards, parking spots, etc.
The key is that these rewards are more than just financial benefits, they provide recognition. Employees often prefer recognition of their accomplishments to pure financial gain, and this recognition also supports their roles in the team.
Rewarding the team as a whole
One strategy to promote the team is to provide rewards that apply to the team as a whole. If the team achieves certain goals, then the whole team goes out to dinner, or they get a spread of pictures on the company bulletin board.
Of course this can promote both good and bad team behavior. If the team perceives itself as being in a competition, sometimes this can lead to resentment against the members that are perceived to be weaker, or holding it back.
Incorporating some training on team dynamics at this point can be an effective way to change that behavior.
Allowing the team to nominate a member
A method that can increase the tendency of a team to value its own members is to allow it to nominate those members for various prizes in the organization. If the members have distinct roles, the prizes can rotate through these roles. This process can invest the whole team in the success of the member whose role can be nominated at that particular time.
Providing recognition within the team
Some teams will intuitively know to provide recognition to its own members whenever the team’s accomplishments are discussed. However, if a team has some members who stand out and shadow the others, the manager may need to take steps to recognize all the team members. Highlighting these contributions will bring the whole team up to a higher level.
Recognizing team along with members in organization
Finally, it is important to recognize the team within the organization at large, specifically for being a good team. Though being recognized for performance metrics is also important, the way to spread the model of a good team using the behaviors of inclusiveness and mutual awareness is to reward the team specifically for these qualities.
These rewards can be in the form of paid retreats, dinners, or other group events. They provide an example for other teams, as well as showing specifically how other teams can achieve these same goals.
Developing the right kind of team is a great way to invest in the future of your business. We have a lot of experience in developing teams, contact us to find out more.
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