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How to Recognize and Reward Your Teammates

According to Recognition Professionals International, “formal, informal and day-to-day recognition programs, when linked to the organization’s values and goals, can create a culture of recognition that enhances employee engagement, performance and retention.”

What types of recognition or rewards encourage YOU to do your best? If you like your work, that may be sufficient reward. For some, public praise in the form of a public email spurs a sustained, motivating effect. It is a type of “pat on the back,” and it feels good.

What Can A Teammate Do?

There are many things you can do and say that will provide a level of recognition to your teammates. Earlier you read about success measures. When your teammates achieve one of these success measures, give him a high-five or shout-out at a team meeting. Place an article about the achievement in the organization’s newsletter, praising the person and the team. When someone responds quickly to a request, thank her—she saved time for the team. When someone follows up on a commitment they made to you, thank him for his timeliness. When a teammate helps you resolve a technical or personal issue, let that person know you appreciate the help. Let her manager know. Yes, it’s a small thing and easy to do—but it is appreciated.

A sincere thank-you recognizes effort, and is appreciated. Accept a thank-you graciously when you receive one. Bob Nelson describes many no-cost or low-cost ways to reward employees in his book “1001 Ways to Reward Employees”. Many of these rewards can be used by teammates or leaders.

Alert: Be aware of cultural differences. Some cultures and individuals do not welcome public praise. Know your teammates. Find out what she or he considers to be welcome and unwelcome recognition.

When the team meets a key milestone, or when they achieve their goal, celebrate it! Have a party. Musicians celebrate after a concert. Sports teams have parades when they win a championship. After the project or other effort, have a pizza party or another kind of celebration.

To recognize and reward your teammates:

  1. Revisit your personal goals every year to ensure that they provide sufficient rewards and recognition when they are accomplished.
  2. Find out the types of rewards and recognition that are most acceptable to your teammates.
  3. Thank your teammates when they collaborate with you to accomplish something
  4. Thank your teammates for meeting a deadline
  5. Send an email to the manager or coach about teammates who have helped in some way—when they didn’t need to–acknowledging their effort.

 Thomas Charles Belanger is the author of Teamwork in Ten Days: Building Successful Teams in the Arts, Sports, Business, and Government, available at and Barnes and Noble.

©2012, Thomas Belanger

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