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12 ways rewards and recognition impact teamwork

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Guest Post: Peninsula Group


It’s one thing to hire the perfect team, it’s another to keep them motivated enough to stay in the company long-term.

While pay and various employee benefits play an important role in motivating your staff, they’re now seen more as a baseline reason for taking a job. A survey from TINYpulse found that peer motivation (20%) and encouragement (14%) were among the top motivators for employees.

With this in mind, it’s important to recognise your employees’ achievements as a means of motivating the workforce. As well as being an important part of company culture, it helps to improve team performance, productivity, and morale.

In this piece, we’ll highlight the importance of teamwork and explore the ways that rewards and recognition can affect their output.


The importance of teamwork

Before getting into the ways rewards and recognition can affect it, we thought it might be a good idea to explain the importance of teamwork.

Anyone working in HR will tell you that promoting teamwork is a priority for every organisation. In today’s working environment and with most jobs now involving interaction with people on different teams or in different geographic locations, the need for teamwork is even more critical for the success of any business.

Teamwork brings with it many advantages that benefit your business, this includes:

Promoting unity: Working individually can create an environment where employees are focused on promoting their own goals and competing against their co-workers, which can then lead to a demotivated workforce. When you encourage team working, you’re also promoting an atmosphere that fosters friendship and loyalty. These relationships motivate employees and allow for collaboration and support of each other.

Efficient work: Teamwork is a key pillar of the digital revolution as it forms the foundation of modern civilisation (the division of labour). And in the workplace, effective teamwork enables the workforce to divide tasks into smaller chunks and split according to skills and experience. This allows tasks to be completed better and more efficiently. With better efficacy, you’ll see increased productivity and profitability amongst other benefits.

Diverse feedback: With employees from diverse backgrounds and with different experiences, your staff can brainstorm collectively and offer feedback from unique perspectives. When they do this, they’re opening themselves up to diverse thoughts, and opportunities. It should go without saying but diverse teams are more likely to spark innovation which can, in turn, offer you a competitive edge.

Develop individual skills: Your workforce will be a combination of staff members with different experiences, skillset, strengths and weaknesses. As well as improving employee performance, with this setup, your staff are also able to develop their skills by learning from each other.

Synergy: When your workforce is aware of the goals and objectives of the company, they’re in a better position to offer support, cooperation, and encouragement, all of which provide synergy across the board. And when the workplace is synergised, as well as making employees collectively responsible and invested in the outputs of tasks, it presents employees with a greater sense of accomplishment.


12 ways rewards and recognition impact teamwork

Employees value appreciation at work. Yes, do pay them for the job they do, but recognising their effort goes a long way to show them they’re valued.

Based on the points highlighted above, employers are now aware of the need for the recognition of employee performance, engagement and achievements both individually and as part of a team.

Below we’ll explore the ways that rewards and recognition can affect teams:

1. Increased productivity: It should go without saying but when employees enjoy and feel valued at their jobs, they tend to be more productive. And how can you ensure they’re happy at their jobs? By offering rewards and recognising their efforts. It doesn’t have to be expensive; a simple email thanking them for their hard work goes a long way to securing their loyalty to you. When your staff are engaged, they’re significantly more productive than they would be otherwise. When they know that their efforts are likely to be rewarded, they’ll work more efficiently and proactively.

2. Boost morale: According to Entrepreneur magazine, backstabbing and arguments amongst employees are among the most common reasons for declining morale. Rewarding employees is one of the best ways to keep morale up. When they feel they’re being recognised at work they’re more likely to be happier in the role and with the company.

3. Retaining employees: As we explained in the intro, employee motivators stretch much further than their pay package. Rewarding staff members is important for retaining existing employees. Those that are recognised for the achievements and praised for their hard work are more likely to be satisfied in their role, which can then result in greater loyalty to the business. To increase team spirit, cooperation and innovation, consider pulling individuals together to receive compensation and recognition.

4. Increased communication: A major importance of rewards and recognition in the workplace is greater communication. By celebrating achievements and milestones, you’re able to build stronger team relationships. Employers can communicate their goals and vision with their staff while employees can work together to problem-solve with effective communication.

5. Employee happiness: The happiness of your staff is of paramount importance. Happy and fulfilled employees are motivated to perform better because of the positive feelings they have towards your company. When you treat your staff with gratitude and respect, they’re more likely to want to work harder at their job in return.

6. Attracting recruits: The recruitment process can be a long and daunting one so it’s important to take steps to make the process easier. One way to do this is by leveraging your existing staff. When your existing employees are happy, they’re more likely to recommend your company to their friends or family. With the popularity of review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, it’s easier for your employees to share their opinion about your business. While this may have positive impacts for your company, it can also have negative reviews, which can be damaging. With technology being what it is, negative reviews can spread faster and wider and could have consequences for your business.

7. Culture: Rewarding and recognising your employees and teams for the work they do is essential for keeping a happy and productive workforce. By linking employee recognition to the values and culture of your organisation, you are ensuring that your staff are engaged for the right reason and in a way that can benefit the business.

8. Job satisfaction: Recognising employees for their achievements and efforts shows them that you value their contributions to the success of the organisation. Offering rewards show staff that their hard work is worth rewarding and so must be important. This, in turn, builds their confidence by helping them believe they’re making a real difference.

9. Develops employer brand: As well as helping to attract recruits, rewarding your staff can also do wonders for your company brand. It’s common knowledge that an organisation that recognises and rewards its employees can build a positive brand, as employees are more likely to talk positively about the benefits of their workplace. As well as being identified as a company that values are rewards their staff, it’ll also stand out as one with good leadership and people management skills.

10. Stimulating development and progression: The points above show us that employees tend to do better when they are recognised for their good work. In addition to this, rewarding good behaviour and exceptional performance encourage them to seek further development and career goals. It helps boost morale and pushes them to do more to exceed company expectations.

11. Loyalty: Engaged employees are loyal employees. They’ll promote your business and sell your brand better than anyone else sells it. By rewarding your staff, you’re developing an emotional bond with them, which in time grows into loyalty to your company.

12. Focused vision: Working in groups towards a performance award pushes all members of the team to recognise the company’s objective, mission and vision. With this understanding, employees learn how their roles within the company help to achieve its overall goals and objectives.


How to Reward Teamwork

We’ve outlined why we should reward teamwork, but how can this be done effectively and efficiently?

The basic principle is rewarding the behaviour you want to reinforce, i.e., reward the team for acting as a team. If you reward the individuals, it can damage the team’s morale.

Remember that rewards don’t have to cost anything. A small token of appreciation or a 10-minute early dart can make people feel valued.

A crucial principle of reinforcing positive behaviour is to reward the team as soon as possible. Feedback and recognition should always be ‘timely’ otherwise it won’t have much effect. You should also specifically state what the recognition is for. If it’s unclear why the team is being rewarded, they won’t be encouraged to repeat the desired behaviour.

Be creative with your recognition. Especially if you have a small budget for any teamwork-rewards, you don’t want to use the same award each time, as it could seem like a low-effort token gesture. Personalised rewards can make people feel appreciated. For example, if someone is interested in sport, buy them a gift related to that sport.

Once you have a team that you can rely on and trust, reward their continued efforts by giving them more flexibility. For example, allowing team members to work from home two days per week will provide them with more time to do what they want and may save them a significant amount of money in fuel or bus-fares.

One reward that can benefit both the employees and the employer can be to invest in the best tech infrastructure. The best internet connection, programs and hardware can make your team happier and more productive. Another “win-win” reward can be to encourage team members to grow their skillset and give them a training budget to learn new skills to further their career within the company.


Wrapping up

To resolve the ongoing challenges most businesses face of retaining existing staff and attracting newer ones, many employers just throw money at the problem. While money in the form of pay raises, bonuses or incentive pay is usually always welcome, research has proven it’s not a long-term solution.

In an article published by Harvard Business School, assistant professor Ashley Whillans pointed out that what really matters in the workplace is “helping employees feel appreciated” and not just throwing money at a problem.

With appreciation being a fundamental human need, praise and recognition are essential to maintain a productive and engaged workplace. As well as attracting new talent to the business, it helps to retain the existing ones.

* This blog was contributed by Peninsula. To find out more about their HR services, visit their website here

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