Employee Appreciation for Teams & Workgroups

by Allan Peretz

Jack Welch once said that "the team with the best players wins." While that may be true in general, it's only the case when those players work together. Ego, communication issues, unhealthy competitiveness, and more can sabotage teams even when the most prized players are involved.

So you've built a great employee appreciation program. You have employee of the month awards, a great bonus system, on-the spot recognition tools, peer recognition, and more. Congratulations on this accomplishment. You're already ahead of 90% of businesses!

How, though, do you recognize awesome teams of employees? This can be more difficult to pull off well but is just as important. Recognizing teams not only promotes performance, but also shows your employees that the "group win" is every bit as important as the "player win."

Try these 5 approaches and we're confident you'll see results...

Give the team a special name:

Want to foster a team identy? Well, the easiest way is to give the team an unofficial but inspiring & catchy name: "The Wizards of Sales" or "The Creative Coding Corps." While it may seem cheesy at first, you'll be surprised at how this name will catch on and become a source of pride. Take it a step further with schwag - t-shirts, hats, or decorative items for employee workspaces.

Give the team an exciting new mission:

If a project team's performed at the highest level, it's almost certain that the individuals on the team have gotten comfortable and enjoy working together. The most common sense way to reward this and encourage more success is to keep the team together for bigger and better missions that leverage the skills they've demonstrated.

Recognize both the accomplishment and the teamwork itself:

Instead of individual awards, consider giving every team member the same "teamwork award." This will reinforce the point that every player was equally important in accomplishing the goal. Trophies, plaques, and other traditional awards are all common ways to do this. 

Give the team some time off to celebrate together:

If your team delivered at the highest levels, chances are that they also experienced stress, friction, doubt, and other challenges together. They need to cool down and to repair any stress fractures that have appeared within the team dynamic.

Give them some time off for a team lunch, pay for an expensive dinner, or better yet, send them away for a fun activity: an amusement park, an art class, or whatever you think this group will enjoy. Whether or not you attend with them is a big question - having the "boss" participate can be a plus or it could turn the time away into "work." This depends on your company culture and on the type of relationship you have with this group. Be honest with yourself about this.

Upgrade the team's shared space / shared resources:

The team has produced brilliantly for the company so you can probably offer them a little funding to make their work lives & work space even better. Maybe the team wants an espresso machine, some new ergonomic chairs, or upgraded phones. You'll be amazed at how much these conveniences & luxuries will drive morale. In addition, every time they use these items, they'll be reminded of their job well done.

However you choose to do it, recognizing the team win will positively impact your culture and your bottom line.

We hope that YOU find these employee appreciation ideas useful!