Typically, incentive program strategy is focused on rewarding individual achievements.
But with agile team practices on the rise, you need to think about how you can tailor an incentive strategy to reinforce the team-specific behaviours that are the essence of agile methodology.
How does rewarding differ in agile teams?
The agile team approach emphasises collaboration, learning and contributions to collective intelligence. So your rewards system should aim to reinforce those behaviours and reward people based on their followership, relationships, credibility and teamwork skills.
The best agile team rewards are innovative, objective, flexible and offered in the context of a rewards system that conforms to agile tenets of inclusion, fairness and transparency.
Rewards in an agile environment are often intangible and rarely monetary. McKinsey states that “offering flexible benefits allows agile organisations to place greater emphasis on intrinsic motivation and frequent non-monetary rewards.” These might take the form of special assignments, attendance at special industry events or high-profile workplace recognition.
How to design an agile rewards strategy
In today’s fast-paced market, changes in organisations often outpace the design and management of rewards programs. An agile framework will allow you to iterate and evolve with your teams.
- Enable frequent rewards touchpoints with employees. If the gap between accomplishments rewarded is too long, programs can become disjointed from the actions and results they aim to promote.
- Adjust and iterate your rewards allocations and offerings. Organisations should continuously adjust their rewards allocations and offerings to stay current and gain a competitive advantage. It’s important to understand your team’s needs and preferences to offer informed and evidence-based rewards.
- Align job architectures with evolving career and talent models. Job architecture refers to how an organisation names, organises and rewards work. High-performing teams are six times more likely to align their overarching job structure with new and evolving career and talent models than low-performing organisations.
7 Ways to incentivise agile high performing teams
Tangible rewards, like group travel or experiences, may make an ideal finale to your rewards program, but there are additional ways you can tap the motivation of individuals on your agile teams.
1. Public recognition
Public recognition can come in the form of public acknowledgement and appreciation for something done well. This can be by showing appreciation to a team during a company meeting or perhaps highlighting work well done in a monthly newsletter.
Recognition should be a regular occurrence as it aids in creating a healthy work environment. Nearly 95% of employees who report being happiest at work say that their project managers excel at giving feedback and recognition.
2. Training and growth opportunities
High-performing teams value growth and continuous improvement. McKinsey shares an example of a North America-based fintech company offering unique leadership-exposure opportunities and mentorship programs to reward performance.
3. Personalised rewards
While incentives should be teams focused, the rewards can still be personalised. Allow your employees the flexibility to select their own rewards. Deloitte gives an example of allowing a new hire to choose between salary or stock options, an extra week of vacation or higher pay and a bonus based on results or a modest increase in base pay.
4. Time off
Time off is an excellent incentive for employees to look forward to after completing a specific project (or sprint in agile terms). This can come in the form of actual time away from work that doesn’t come out of their annual vacation days.
5. Meaningful work
Empower your teams with the opportunity to do the type of work that they find truly meaningful. Finding meaning in work is so important, in fact, more than 9 out of 10 employees are willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning in their daily work.
This type of incentive can come in the form of allowing them time to work on a pro bono project that they feel passionate about, or encouraging them to work on a pitch that aligns with their interests.
6. Wellness programs
Employee well-being programs are popular incentives for high-performing teams where stress, anxiety and burnout are common occurrences.
7. Time for fun
Teams should factor in time for having fun. This not only helps keep morale high but also ensures that people have a fresh mind to be able to keep contributing and innovating. These can be more regular, ad-hoc rewards to increase motivation levels when needed. From Friday pizza after a heavy week to monthly video game afternoons.
A high-performing team deserves a high-performing incentive program
Incentive programs that focus on team performance over individual performance help to foster a strong culture of team over self, which is exactly what successful agile teams need to succeed.
What’s your strategy for a high-performing incentive program?
Give us a call and let’s talk about how we can help you get the high-performance incentive program results you’re looking for. Get in touch with an incentives expert at Achievement Awards Group.