Every year companies spend time and money organising off-site team building days to boost morale and team spirit, but according to engagement experts, by the time team building days come around it may be far too late to rally the troops.
HR managers need to rethink the team building days approach and focus on consistent, across-the-board recognition programs in order to drive an organisation’s objectives throughout the year and not just on one day, according to Ben Thompson, CEO of HR consultancy firm, EI. “Annual group off-site sessions are not always something everyone enjoys or gets to attend. Employees can come to resent them because they keep attendees from doing real, useful work and make the people who are not invited feel disengaged,” he added.
To retain high performing staff and motivate people at all levels to improve consistently, the best way is to implement an ongoing recognition program for both individuals and teams. According to EI, these programs should define, track and recognise the behaviours and objectives that make a real difference day to day and may include:
1. Use gaming techniques in your HR strategy. An overwhelming majority of people would much rather engage in something fun and rewarding, and would likely take preventative measures to avoid overly boring or complex tasks. Gamification strategies can energize employees and foster an atmosphere of progress. It also allows employees to reach goals and be rewarded based on progress by way of things like – level ascension, gathering virtual goods, avatar programs, leaderboards and points gathering. Related story: Work is a game, didn’t you know?
2. Adopt a recognition and reward system. Employees are able to gain points for the work they do. Employers can access off-the-shelf points-based programs that are easy to integrate with business goals, simple to customise with your brand and easy to manage. This could also be linked to your gamification strategy.
3. Build a culture of employee appreciation. Cash incentives and public recognitiondon’t always make your employees feel truly appreciated. Take on some simple short-term morale boosters, like recognising good work with handshake and a smile, or idea sharing, and turn it into a business lifestyle. Thanking employees face-to-face on a regular basis also helps improve their ability to accept constructive criticism.
4. Step it up a notch – with a challenge. Sometimes the most sincere form of flattery is being trusted with more challenging work. It’s a fact that underpinning of recognition is a respectful relationship. If the manager shows trust with new challenges – that may be all the recognition that is needed.
Consistent rewarding also helps to inspire those that may not be achieving as much and who may try harder in order to receive the same recognition and rewards, Thompson added.