Rewarding Your Team This Christmas
Imagine this scenario: One of your team members has saved the company a significant amount of money with a process she spent weeks creating. It’s right before the holidays, so you decided to reward her with a turkey that she and her family can enjoy for dinner.
You make a big deal of presenting the turkey to her. She smiles and shyly accepts the gift, quickly putting it in the office refrigerator. You feel good because you rewarded her efforts, and she seemed to be happy about the recognition.
But is she? Things aren’t always as they appear. You didn’t take the time to learn whether or not she eats meat, so you didn’t discover that she’s a vegetarian. And you didn’t consider that she commutes to the office one hour by bus and walk twenty minutes, after the bus ride to reach home, in rural Belize – so by the time she gets that frozen turkey home to give away to friends, it will be a drippy, soggy mess.
Have you ever wondered why the rewards you offer don’t seem to be received very well? We often hear how important it is to reward your team. But it’s equally important to take the time to find out how your team would really like to be recognized. Sometimes people don’t want a bonus or pay raise. Instead, what they’d really like is a sincere “thank you” or a day off to spend with their families.
The Importance of Rewarding Your Team
Although the idea of rewarding workers beyond their pay and benefits package seems obvious, some leaders avoid the practice, perhaps because they feel that showing appreciation undermines their authority, perhaps because they want to avoid stirring up jealousy in other members of the team, perhaps because they feel they don’t have the time to do it, or perhaps because they feel embarrassed praising people openly.
This is a shame, because these attitudes reduce their own performance, and all of these problems can or should be avoided. The most successful leaders are those who recognize and reward their team’s efforts. This not only builds trust, but it strengthens loyalty as well. Turnover is often much lower in teams that have a strong bond with their leader, and this impacts a company’s bottom line.
You should also remember that, for the most part, the world’s talent pool is shrinking – mostly due to declining birth rates, which leads to an aging workforce. This means that it’s becoming harder for organizations to find the people they need. Finding and keeping talented people is a key issue, and the companies that figure out how to do this now will likely be the ones that succeed far into the future. One of the best ways to keep these people is to make sure that their hard work is appreciated. If finding the few minutes needed to recognize people is a problem, just think how much time you’d have to spend replacing them!
Recognizing Their Efforts
Appropriately rewarding team members for something they’ve done takes some effort on your part. If you don’t put much thought into what you’re doing, then you may just upset the people you’re trying to thank. This is why you should sit down with your team and find out how they’d really like to be rewarded.
For example, if your team is about to start a major project, find out:
- Which team achievements would people like to be rewarded for?
- What kind of reward would they like, as individuals and as a team?
- Would they rather celebrate with several milestones along the way, or have one big celebration when they hit the goal?
Learning how your team would like to be recognized, and how you can show your appreciation, is a vital step toward making sure that your efforts will be appropriate.