Rewarding Your Team – Are You Doing Too Little Or Too Much?

February 7, 2013

In a survey of human resource managers in the United States a few years ago about what motivates them most, the majority said recognition for work they had done.  So rewarding your team is certainly a key way to show your recognition.

Are You Doing Too Little?

What is regarded as too little?  The easy answer is not giving any recognition at all and taking all the credit yourself for what the team produces.  Even a simple ‘thank you’ is better than nothing and is likely to get results.

Only giving them what they are entitled to may also be regarded as too little.  For example letting them finish at their normal time on a Friday instead of overtime should not be seen as doing them a favour.

Not doing it spontaneously could also be construed as being too little.  Sometimes people like to be rewarded when they least expect it and it can be hugely motivational.

Are You Doing Too Much?

One of our trainers recently came across a situation where the manager had over rewarded the team.  When the manager had realised that the bonuses could not be sustained by the business they had to pull them back a touch.  This resulted in very difficult conversations and whilst the manager was right in doing so, it had created a problem.

Making the reward reflect the effort and value to the business is a good guide to follow.  As we have seen earlier, rewards do not have to be monetary.  If you have all had a really busy period and got through it without any major mishaps, you might reward people with an extra half-day’s leave or even a two hour lunch break together at the local hostelry.

Many will remember the manager’s bribery, sorry gesture when they bought cakes on a Friday.  For very little outlay the manager was a hero.  In times of high levels of obesity this may no longer be politically correct but the gesture is the point.

The greater the thought put into the reward the greater the response from the team.  We often hear stories of excellent managers who have found a favourite type of book or piece of music and have given these as rewards to certain employees who have gone beyond the call of duty.

Use your imagination and learn more about your team to discover what rewards you can give them for hard work and collaboration.

Let us know what rewards you have given your teams and what situations led you to give them.  We can then share your wonderful ideas and you might even discover a new one you can use in your own team.

Many thanks

Scott Rumsey

Senior Management Trainer & Consultant at MTD Training

(Image by Kittisak at

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