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Rewarding Team Collaboration: Why, How, and the Best Awards for Your Employees

Does team collaboration in the workplace matter to your bottom line?

Many surveys suggest that it does. According to a study from Officevibe, 70% of employees believe having friends at work is the most critical component of a healthy working environment.

Furthermore, well over half of all men and nearly three in every four women relayed that they would refuse a higher paying job if they knew going in that they would not get along with coworkers.

It is important for employees to get along—and to understand how to work with each other—if sustainable growth is one of your company's goals. 

Teamwork has an even more direct effect on your profits than you might think, and it should definitely be rewarded.

Here is why—and how—you should encourage collaboration in the workplace:


Why Should You Encourage Team Collaboration in the Workplace?

Multiple studies have found that teamwork and collaboration lead to higher organizational performance and that happy teams are more productive. When teams share their workload, work is completed faster and employees experience less burnout because they don’t feel the weight of an entire project.

When teams collaborate on ideas and in brainstorming sessions, more creativity and innovation results. And when team members participate in cross-training – always an exercise in teamwork – the company is better able to fill in for sick or vacationing employees.

The benefits of collaboration in the workplace are clear. But how do you know if your workplace has great collaboration? And how can you encourage great teamwork?

What Makes for Great Employee Collaboration?

You might be surprised to learn that team members do not have to be best friends – or even like each other – in order for workplace collaboration to be effective. However, managers and supervisors do have to build an environment of respect, trust and shared goals.

Here is how:

  • Encourage open communication: There are no bad questions on a great team. All team members should actively listen to each other, support all contributions and provide constructive feedback.
  • Strengthen interpersonal skills: The key to criticism is that it must be constructive and positive. Other interpersonal skills include showing respect and commitment to the team.
  • Build a balanced team: The best collaboration in the workplace occurs on teams that are balanced between different personality types and skills. Teams should be built from the ground up with individuals who complement each other, and leaders should make everyone’s role clear.
  • Create a positive overall culture: It’s hard to encourage collaboration in the workplace if your company culture is negative or your employees have low morale. Start with boosting morale and creating a positive culture, then work on your collaboration.

You may also consider utilizing collaborative exercises at a company outing or elsewhere beyond the workplace. These types of activities can help build team chemistry and provide an opportunity for employees to see how effectively they can work together.

Bonding with coworkers can improve workplace culture and ultimately productivity as well. It is important to find the right activities for different types of employees and work environments. The following are a few examples of exercises that can help teammates bond.

Trust and Bonding Games

Learning to trust co-workers is an important part of working together. There are several activities that can be used to increase trust levels. The classic egg toss is a great way to get two individuals to trust one another as well as adapt to the other's personal style

A scavenger hunt can be used for larger teams. Divide teams into groups of four or more to find hidden objects in a room. The team to find the most hidden objects wins.

Another simple bonding activity includes randomly drawing names out of a hat and placing all employees into groups of two. Each pair has less than five minutes to come up with five things they have in common with who they have been paired with. They also need to come up with five differences.

Here are some other great examples of games and bonding activities that build trust among your employees—whether the meet-up is in-person or virtual:

  • Board Game or Poker Night
  • Murder Mystery Party
  • Attend a Cooking Class
  • Pot Luck Dinner
  • Book Club
  • Karaoke
  • Mad Libs
  • Office Trivia
  • 20 Questions

Problem Solving Activities

An example of a problem-solving activity would start by dividing employees into teams. Choose a facilitator not on any team to build a structure with Legos or other types of building blocks. One person from each team looks at the structure for 30 seconds or less. This individual then goes back and instructs the team to rebuild the structure from memory. The team that builds the structure as accurately as possible in a designated time frame wins.

Other problem-solving games might include attending an escape room to work together to find your way out using clues. Either verbal clues can be given or written clues left throughout the room. Divide employees into small groups of two to four. The first team to find the key and escape wins.

Also, having puzzle contests is a way to keep bonding activities simple. Buy several of the same puzzle and divide employees into small groups. The first group to put together the entire puzzle wins.

Other problem solving activities you can engage in with your team to foster collaboration include:

Encourage Team Collaboration with an Incentive Program

Communicating corporate values is something that is done during the onboarding process. It must be reinforced in order to encourage team members to adopt the culture. Incentives are a good way to tie culture to specific actions that can be taken by employees. You can encourage assimilation with targeted rewards.

Many employers mess up in offering rewards that are not aligned with what employees would find desirable. Personalized rewards will be better received by employees than those provided without giving much thought. Gifts that are a surprise and well outside of the normal incentives expected are wonderful ways to influence behavior. Consider the culture of your staff in addition to the budget.

When you lose an employee, it costs money to recruit and train a new employee. That is very expensive for some companies. Research shows that companies with recognition programs experience a 31 percent lower voluntary turnover rate than companies who do not have a recognition program in place. Companies save money by retaining top talent.

Productivity is tied to employee effort in some cases. Incentivizing employees to give their best effort through recognition program will improve efficiency and your company’s bottom line. It is much easier to encourage employees to achieve when you have desirable rewards being offered.

Replacing key employees is expensive. Recruitment is costly. Time spent vetting candidates and hiring them requires a significant investment in time and resources. Making a company desirable to employees requires the use of tools like incentive programs. When employees feel valued, they are more likely to remain onboard.

The Best Awards for Collaboration in the Workplace

You can encourage collaboration in the workplace in many ways, from verbal acknowledgment to taking the team out to lunch. But one of the most effective strategies is to give teamwork awards – ideally as part of an employee recognition program, but also as one-time events for specific accomplishments.

Here are a few of our favorite teamwork awards for rewarding collaboration:

Globe Awards

Sometimes it feels like your team could take on the world – or they accomplished something so big, it is like they did take on the world. Some of our most popular designs for rewarding collaboration are groups of figures holding or pushing globes. Designs like the Alliance World Globe Trophy and the Team Perspective Award symbolize a huge accomplishment and feel like a once-in-a-lifetime keepsake.

Modern Awards

You’re a forward-looking company that encourages innovation, creativity and a positive workplace culture – and your rewards for collaboration in the workplace should embody that. Our modern awards are made from sleek metals and metal coatings in contemporary designs employees will love. Check out the Art Deco figures of the Stellar Achievement Award or the copper-finished Circle Teamwork Award.

Art Glass Awards

Creative teams are some of the most highly collaborative in all of business, regardless of industry. Many of these individuals have an artisic eye, and the recognition of their professional achievements should reflect that. EDCO offers a wide variety of crystal and glass art awards that can match the preferences and feel of any business. For an artisinal sculpture that truly speaks to the beauty of teamwork, look no further than the Pure Collaboration Art Glass Trophy.

Figure Awards

Collaboration in the workplace isn’t possible without the team members who make it happen, and figure awards recognize individual contributions while still putting teamwork front and center. The Artful Connection Crystal is a striking optical crystal design that communicates elegance and unity, while the similar Together Recognition Award shows two individuals coming together to form something greater and consists of one-of-a-kind blown glass.

Perpetual Plaques

Perpetual plaques come with multiple smaller plates on which you can engrave the name of each important team member you want to recognize. They’re ideal for hanging on an “achievement wall” at your office – and encouraging even more teamwork. The Appreciation Plaque is a premium option that will look great hanging in your business offices.

 Ready to Recognize Team Success at Your Company? Contact EDCO Today to Get Started! 

Once you understand what makes a great team and how to encourage collaboration in the workplace, better productivity and increased innovation will follow. When you always recognize great teamwork with a reward, you will continue to inspire your employees to climb even higher mountains together.

EDCO offers over 120 unique award styles for recognition of excellent teamwork. Contact us today to get your order started or call 800-377-8646 to speak with an EDCO awards specialist.