Like our team at Carson Group, your team probably began this year with a long list of key initiates meant to move the needle in 2016. While some of those goals have undoubtedly been crossed off the list, it’s likely that you still have a lot of work ahead of you in the second half of the year.  The good news is that summer months provide the perfect opportunity to turn renewed energy into increased productivity.  The first step, however, requires you to reflect on the progress you’ve made thus far and the ways in which each individual stakeholder can contribute in coming months.

Whether you feel like your team has gone above and beyond or has room for improvement, midyear is a great time to reevaluate roles and reassign responsibilities. Once you’ve objectively assessed where you are and where you’d like to be, it’s important to communicate the path forward with enthusiasm and confidence. Your high spirits combined with the powerful effects of sunshine and summer excitement have the ability to inspire meaningful action within your firm. But, in my experience, the secret to truly ensuring this momentum lasts long enough to reach the finish line is simple: reward your team for a job well done.

Incentivizing your goals throughout the rest of the year can help your team focus on outcomes. When you show genuine appreciation for their dedication, you receive greater commitment and drive in return. This creates a perpetual loop of success, the ultimate win-win situation. Of course, to incentivize effectively, you must first know your team extremely well. The more you know about their hobbies, interests, and motivations, the more easily you can inspire their drive toward a common goal.

Download our “Get to Know Me” form, which can be used by advisors to better acquaint themselves with their team members. Use the information you gather on this form as a reference sheet when you want to reward someone in a very personal, meaningful way.

A reward system can take on two different forms. First are intrinsic rewards, which offer numerous internal benefits to a team member. The four types of intrinsic rewards listed below boost self-assurance and eliminate insecurities, while also allowing you, as a leader, to capitalize on enhanced performance:

  • Sense of meaning. Each stakeholder should be given a purpose and an opportunity to accomplish something of real value.
  • Sense of choice. Every stakeholder should be afforded the ability to take ownership of their work.
  • Sense of competence. Individual tasks should meet stakeholders’ personal standards and lead pride in performance.
  • Sense of progress. Stakeholders should feel as though they are moving in the right direction and can see their efforts are essential to day-to-day business.

The second form rewards take are extrinsic rewards, meaning they are both tangible and controlled by others. As the business owner, you can make decisions about who will receive a reward, how much it will be, and when it is given. Tying specific goals or particular benchmarks to compensation or bonuses is generally an effective approach, but remember this is not the only form of recognition your team appreciates. Too often advisors forget to celebrate the small milestones. In fact, experience shows us, time and time again, that these rewards can go farther and mean more to your team. Rewards we use at Carson can include things like:

  • Bringing in lunch for the team when the time is needed to address something urgent
  • Taking a project team on an outing, such as to a movie, for exceeding their goal
  • Handwriting a thank you note and including a gift card for an individual who’s gone above and beyond
  • Giving the team an extra few hours off at the end of the day because of the long hours they invested in making sure a project was finished on time
  • Hosting an impromptu happy hour in the office to show recognition for a team accomplishment

Both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are valuable in the workplace and an integral part of a strong culture. Establishing a clear system with scorecards to mark progress let’s employees know where they stand and how to catch up if they are falling behind. Use this summer to start a rewards program of your own. The results you see won’t just be in the quality and quantity of accomplishments but also in the loyalty and unification of your team.

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