Tag Archives: employee retention

Reward and recognition – the neglected tool for successful teams

holiday-cocktail

It is surprising just how many corporate executives fail to understand that it’s the simple things that make a difference.

Whenever I am working with the indirect expenditure in client organizations, I build cross-business, cross-functional teams. These teams are given clear objectives and goals and asked to build a team charter outlining their mission, roles, responsibilities and accountabilities. In many cases, the teams are launched with some training and development and a mission to gather data. Within 4 weeks, the team returns to make a presentation to senior executives outlining the mission, goals savings opportunities, risks and strategies. For many of the team members, this is their first exposure corporate executives.

Once approved, the team is given 4 additional weeks to bring the project plan back and an implementation team will be assigned. I also suggest that individual performance reflect the team performance so everyone has a stake in the game. The teams I’ve worked with have delivered cost improvement, process improvement, risk reduction and in many cases, increased shareholder equity.

When complete, I suggest the executives reward the team. They are normally surprised and many have asked me what should the reward be. I always say anything that recognizes that the team worked on the project in addition to their regular job, fostered collaboration and brought extraordinary results to the business. The reward is never about money, but always about a recognition that there was a major contribution to the business.

One CEO arranged for the team members and their significant other be picked up by limo and treated to dinner at the best restaurant in town. A small token of appreciation was given along with participation of the executive team. It’s been several years, but the team still talks about how they were recognized.

The company had many volunteers to join teams and make a big contribution. It’s best to understand that rewards like this bring loyalty and incentivize team members and other employees to be part of success. It’s a small price to pay for the benefits that are gained by collaboration, communication and success.

How do you reward good team performance?

What have you done for them lately?

I worked with a food industry client whose team was dedicated, hard working, and focused on their mission to reduce costs and deliver value. It was extremely competitive industry and the media reported that competitors were doing poorly based on price increases on commodities and raw materials. When this client reported a 57% increase in profit with a 9% increase in sales for the quarter, it became obvious to all that the procurement team was driving the results.

When I had a conversation with the CEO about providing a reward and recognition for this hard working team, he was astonished that I would ask what he planned to do for the team. Admitting he’d not thought of holding an event to reward and recognize the entire team, he was willing to try. He decided to host a dinner at the city’s finest restaurant. He invited all of the purchasing employees and their significant others and arranged a limo pickup for each. The CEO provided a nice gift for both the employees and their guests and thanked the guests for their sacrifice for the company to achieve this milestone. Needless to say, this recognition was the talk of the company for a long time. The team continued to excel and later the CEO acknowledged that this low cost activity provided many benefits long after the event occurred.

When economic and business conditions deteriorate, many companies cut employee reward activities when they are needed most. Low cost events can pull the team together and focus them on a shared vision and mission. While most companies acknowledge teambuilding as a key to organization development, they fail to see how a reward event can drive:

• Goal alignment
• Interpersonal relationships
• Role clarification
• Improved problem solving skills
• Sense of purpose

I think every leader should budget and plan for team events globally. These do not need to be elaborate nor expensive to be effective. The ability to have fun, get to know others in a non-work/political setting, and build understanding and trust go a long way to improving team performance and team dynamics. Don’t wait for a formal meeting or strategy session to do some teambuilding, although that is what many firms do. With finding and retaining talent a challenge, don’t forget the importance of a feeling of belonging to a team and company.

Looking for ideas for team activities? Here’s a good list I read recently “5 Team Building Activities That Don’t Suck”, January 2, 2015 — Posted By Kim Tracy Prince. And, here’s a list of fun events I’ve seen:

1. Whirly Ball
2. Bocce ball
3. Paint Ball
4. Picnic in the parking lot on a work day
5. Bowling
6. Attend a sports event

Casey Stengel said: “Gettin’ good players is easy. Gettin’ ’em to play together is the hard part.”

What will you do for your team?