The power of team rewards to connect your team

When you hear someone mention employee recognition, the word that almost always follows closely is rewards. Employee recognition and rewards programs have proven to be an effective way to boost employee engagement, morale, and a sense of belonging in an organization.  We have our own opinion about rewards tied to recognition, but an indisputable fact is that rewards, when executed thoughtfully, can make a recognition program even more fun.

When thinking about rewards, the prevailing assumption has long been that individual rewards are the most effective means of encouraging recognition. In a sense, if there are things for employees to ‘purchase’ with their hard-earned recognition points, they are more likely to take recognition seriously and engage in the long run. However, this perspective overlooks a powerful and often underutilized strategy to accomplish the same goal: team rewards. By focusing on collective achievements and fostering a sense of shared success, team rewards can significantly enhance team cohesion, collaboration, and overall performance. This article delves into why team rewards deserve more attention and how they can transform the dynamics within teams.

What are team rewards? 

Team rewards are experiences and things that a team of people collectively works towards achieving. In performance management, a sales team might have a goal of a joint sales quota and when they achieve it, they get to enjoy 3 days off without taking paid time off. That is an example of a team reward that rewards team performance. Recognition, on the other hand, isn’t about performance and the team rewards that apply here are rewards that people choose to contribute to for a joint experience. What individual team members contribute are their recognition points, in HeyTaco’s case - tacos, towards a goal of collectively redeeming a team reward. 

Team rewards have commonly been used in performance management, but have been underutilized when it comes to engaging people in a recognition program. 

How team rewards affect team dynamics 

Team rewards encourage people to work together on a common goal. They provide the opportunity for either the whole company or a smaller team to contribute their individual recognition (tacos) to a goal that everyone will benefit from. Working on a goal together and accomplishing it builds camaraderie and provides a shared sense of purpose that is easily translated into the overall culture at the company. 

The shared experience of a team reward brings people together and weaves a memory into your company’s DNA. No one will remember what they spent the $25 Amazon gift card on, but everyone will remember that they earned a foosball table or that they managed to escape from the escape room before the time was up. Experiences, and physical things that facilitate experiences, bring people together and create a story, a moment, that defines what we are about as a team. 

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

Team rewards fatigue is a thing. If all you offer as a team reward are shared experiences, people might get tired of them. There are only so many virtual happy hours or game nights one can attend; at some point, everything becomes old and people get tired of it. Instead, try switching up your rewards: sometimes they can be things people get to enjoy together (virtual lunch), sometimes people get to enjoy the benefits on their own (half-day Friday or time to volunteer in your community), and sometimes people might now want to do anything but still want to contribute (translate the collective recognition points and donate a connected $ amount to charity).

All of us are different, so a team reward might be interesting to one group of people, but completely uninteresting to another. Here are a couple ways you can avoid this situation:

  1. Customize rewards to team preferences: Understanding what motivates your team and tailoring rewards accordingly can enhance their impact and effectiveness. 
  2. Allow teams to select their own rewards - Giving teams the freedom (within whatever budgetary or time constraints necessary) to choose their reward will help that team be both more invested in doing the work to achieve that goal and have more fun when they get to enjoy the reward at the end.

Team rewards provide an alternative to purely individual rewards. For teams that are distributed and always looking for new interesting ways to stay connected, team rewards are a way for people to work towards a common (fun) goal and enjoy the fruits of it: the sense of accomplishment of achieving the goal and sharing in the experience they worked towards. 

Creating Team Rewards with HeyTaco

HeyTaco provides a platform to create team rewards that people can work towards by contributing their tacos earned through recognition. Some of the most popular team rewards our customers love are tacos for charity, tacos for virtual get-togethers (happy hour, lunch), and tacos for joint experience (game nights, escape room, buying a foosball table for the team to enjoy). 

If you want to get your team started on a journey of gratitude and appreciation topped with team rewards, download the app to your Slack or Microsoft Teams and watch the gratitude flow.

Award-winning Employee Recognition Software

HeyTaco is trusted by over 1,000 teams, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, and has been recognized with few awards.

HeyTaco is a leader in Mid-Market Employee Engagement on G2 HeyTaco is a leader in Mid-Market Employee Recognition on G2 HeyTaco is a leader in Team Building on G2 HeyTaco is a leader in Team Building on G2 HeyTaco is a leader in Small-Business Productivity Bots on G2