Phil Handley: Do team incentives really work?

We have found team incentives to be a highly effective way of motivating our workforce.

In the past, we have operated a popular incentive where income exceeding our quarterly sales target is split among staff members as a bonus. In addition to this, we organise a host of social events to reward good company performance. The budget for these events is tied to certain financial milestones, so the more the company earns, the bigger and better the reward.

Such incentives promote collaboration, which, in turn, has a positive impact on sales. In recruitment, the sharing of knowledge is vital, but it doesn’t always happen because employees are so focused on meeting their own key performance indicators.

The prospect of a team bonus gives them another reason to help their colleagues out. It has led to a rise in the amount of cross-selling in our business and opened up new opportunities. It also helps to engage non-sales staff, such as finance, IT and marketing personnel, who make a key contribution to the success of the business.

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A slight risk is that certain individuals do not take the ‘team’ incentive as seriously as others, and yet still benefit from the ‘team’ reward. This could breed resentment between staff members and render the activity counter-productive. Some larger organisations may struggle with this issue, and may therefore need to attach a few caveats to the incentives they offer. Fortunately, all our employees at IntaPeople have bought into the idea and are stimulated by the challenge.

Phil Handley is operations director at IntaPeople