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Dear Workforce How Should We Recognize Team Goals Over Individuals?

Dear Team Recognizer:

Individual vs. team recognition doesn’t need to be mutually exclusive. You can keep your individual recognition program if it is working well and add a team-recognition option—perhaps a parallel program that is available at multiple levels, emphasizes exceeded expectations or extraordinary effort, and also includes a small monetary incentive for team members.

If you do increase your reliance on team recognition, remember to acknowledge individual efforts within the team. You can have teams do this by having each member rank the contribution provided by all other members. You then could recognize team members with the highest aggregate scores.

The most powerful forms of recognition don’t involve much monetary value, if any at all. Nonmonetary forms of recognition are more important to employees, such as allowing the group to do a “praise barrage” in which team members provide positive verbal or written comments to other members. This type of praise enables team members to state why they value working with that person.

Remember that although public praise tends to be a motivating factor, not everyone wants it. Some 20 to 30 percent of the population is private or introverted, and thus prefers to avoid public recognition. In these cases, meet them at their expectation by providing more personal forms of recognition. Show your appreciation with written notes, personal thanks and other thoughtful gestures.

SOURCE: Bob Nelson, president, Nelson Motivation Inc., San Diego

LEARN MORE: Please also read “Four Steps for Evaluating Recognition Programs.”

Workforce Management Online, February 2011Register Now!

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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