How to Reward Your Team

It’s important to acknowledge your team’s successes, but some rewards can yield better results than others. In this video, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, talks about how to offer incentives that encourage resources to further achieve the project’s goals.

In Review: How to Reward Your Team

To generate great teamwork and great results is what a project manager wants from their resources, Jennifer said, but warned that sometimes rewards can disrupt teams and cause projects to fail.

She offered a few guiding points, like rewarding the behavior you want to encourage, such as when the team works together as a team. She cautioned against individual rewards as they can inflate one team member and cause resentment from the others.

Jennifer shared a few pointers that have worked for her when leading teams. To summarize:

  • Be timely
  • Be specific
  • Be appropriate
  • Be customizable
  • Be consistent throughout the project

As the old adage goes: There’s no I in team. By supporting the collective strength of your team, rather than fostering individual competition, you will have made a better team that will work harder with you to make a better project.

Pro-Tip: Get to know your team members. You can have a group reward, such as buying everyone pizza for lunch, and also personalize the event with trinkets bought at the local dollar store. It doesn’t have to be much, but if it connects with the person’s interests or likes, it’s going to go a long way in creating loyalty to you and the team.

Take it further: It’s important to know the psychology of motivation. Susanne Madsen explains What Really Motivates People.

Thanks for watching!



Hello I am Jennifer Bridges (formerly Whitt), director of

Welcome to our whiteboard session today on how to reward your team. We get so many questions about this issue. Because it can generate great teamwork and great results or can destroy teams and create failed projects.

So, let’s break this down in a few areas. This is tricky. Let me give a few reminders. Reward the behavior you want to see or continue to have more of. So reward the team for working as a team. It takes the team to work as a team. There are many people on the team that have different areas of expertise, different training, different skill sets. That are all critical to actually implementing your project. So we want to reward the resources for working as a team.

If we reward the I’s, the individuals on the team, we get heroes or the superstars or the people who are always pointed out. You’ve seen it. Why do they always get the reward? That destroys nations. If you look at sports teams and how they do. It is not just that one person who makes the field goal or scores the point. It’s the team who has done the blocking, the tackling, the passing. They have been in the right position at the right time they are all working together as a team to win. It’s not just that one person. It’s not just that final shot in the last 2 seconds. So we want to remember that. The same applies for projects.

The other reminder is rewards do not have to be money or they don’t have to take a lot of money. Sometimes people say, well I don’t have a lot of money for this project to reward my team. We can’t spend any money. Well, it doesn’t take a lot of money. There are a lot of rewards that can be given. That don’t require a lot of money or doesn’t take a lot of money. A lot of times handwritten notes, small gifts or little tokens, go along way.

Another reminder is rewards vary by groups or cultures. For instance, if there is a group who are vegetarians and you throw a pizza party. Well, that’s probably not going to be received very well. Or if you do something in one culture that is not really accepted or known or has no meaning in another. You are really not rewarding that group.

So how to? Again, there is a lot written. There are a lot of studies. There is a lot of research on rewards. We can’t do that all here. But I want to gleen a few things that have worked for me in my teams. So, some of the how to’s. I am going to give you five. Five things that can be done.

It is always timely. It is important to reward the action or the behavior, timely. Do it early and often and not wait too long so people forget. What are we doing? What happened? Why are we here? What are we doing?

Also, be specific. What are we rewarding? What behavior has occurred? So be specific to say, “I really like how this team worked together to help get that milestone done.” Whatever, you are rewarding. Let the team know exactly why you are rewarding them. Otherwise, you’re just having a pizza party, a get together or something like that. That has no meaning.

Number three, the reward needs to be appropriate to the behavior. So if it’s just someone helping each other out and you give this elaborate party it doesn’t make sense. It’s almost overkill. You can do little rewards along the way. Then sometimes you may want to have the big elaborate party, the big milestone or phase in close out. So, make sure that the reward is appropriate to the behavior.

Number four is customize. It’s not the same old, same old. Where your group is like, “Oh great we are having another rewards get together.” “We are going to get another coffee cup.” So being a creative and doing things that make it interesting. Some of the things I used to do is for one group. They did enjoy pizza parties.

So when I would reward our team and have a pizza party each person who was on the team I would go to, what is in our area is we have “Dollar Stores”. Where Literally I would go in and buy something for a dollar. So I would try to pick out little things, one of the people in the team loved to talk he loved to get to the whiteboard and take over the stage I got him a little microphone and one person on the team loved golf so I got him a little play golf thing for his desk and then one lady on our team was always late so I got her a little foam clock to put on her door something that you can laugh at that makes people know that you are recognising them and that they were a part of the team.

Then number five remember to reward the team all along the way. You don’t have to wait to the end of the project to reward the team. If you give constant rewards along the way you keep the team energised you get them exited you get them exited not only about working as a team but also about the project.

These are some of the things I found that have been helpful for rewarding my team and I hope they will help you too. Still not sure about when to reward your team? Our web-based project management software helps you set milestones and track team progress toward goals so that you know when to

Need help identifying the best time to reward your team for a job well done? Our software tracks team and individual performance and allows you to set goal and measure milestones. Start your free trial today.

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