B2B Team & Individual Rewards: How to best boost employee performance

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The customer experience is paramount to the success of your business. Motivating your workforce affects how your employees interact with your clients and customers. It’s common knowledge, but how effective are your motivational efforts?

“Okay, team: if we get through this order by five, we’re going out for pizza lunch tomorrow. My treat!”

Sound familiar? Additional vacation, performance bonuses, incentive programs — there are endless possibilities for rewarding your entire team for a job well done. But a new study conducted as a joint effort by researchers at the University of Iowa, Texas Christian University and Tsinghua University, found that rewarding the entire team is perhaps not the best way to go about boosting employee performance.

Instead, the study finds that recognizing one individual above others has spillover effects on the entire team output. Bradley Kirkman, co-author of a paper on the study says, “our findings are based on laboratory and field experiments in China, and those findings tell us that recognizing individual team members can supercharge team performance.”

Supercharge your team’s performance

What does a supercharged team performance mean for your business? According to Irving Frydman, chief branding officer and principal of public relations and marketing firm B2B Marketing Insights, a corporate culture built on trust and strong leadership is an underpinning of employee engagement. “Employees not only want to feel valued, which I believe is more important than recognition,” he says, “but desire feelings of accomplishment. When individuals enjoy their job and place of work, they become natural ambassadors for an organization.”

As a B2B enterprise, your employees are on the front line of your business. The employee representative of your organization can mean the difference between a positive or a negative experience for your customer. It’s therefore highly important that your team is as engaged in your business as possible.

Effective employee motivation has additional benefits in the age of social media. B2Bs cannot afford to overlook the fact that their employees use social media, and use it to speak about their work experience. A happy, motivated, productive employee is far more likely to speak positively about your company than one that is dissatisfied.

Frydman explains, “We begin with traditional word-of-mouth to family and friends, but the magic really happens when message amplification takes place on social media. Savvy organizations recognize their employees can be one of their most trusted marketing vehicles and should encourage them to be on LinkedIn and present themselves professionally.  Encourage likes, shares, and comments of posted content and go a step further by sending pre-scripted status updates to help facilitate sharing.”

Nor can B2Bs afford to overlook the fact that current and potential customers are also using social media to research companies they want to work with. In a previous article, How your B2B company can benefit from a corporate social responsibility program, Baka Communications CEO John Marion argued that, “Companies want companies that have a great reputation.” If your employees are engaged, your clients are more likely to see a positive reflection of your business on social media.

Brand ambassadors
This really drives home the fact that your employees are your brand ambassadors. Irving Frydman concludes, “When employees live the brand they become your beacon – a light which delivers on the brand promise, helping ensure each customer interaction is a positive one.  Not only is service quality improved, but you increase the likelihood of having customers for life. Think of the value that brings to your organization.”

The study conducted by Kirkman and his fellow researchers is called “Recognizing ‘Me’ Benefits ‘We’: Investigating the Positive Spillover Effects of Formal Individual Recognition in Teams.” Finally there is research to prove that a little healthy competition is a good thing.

Photo credit: Jon Evans

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