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While it would be great if everyone was able to maintain the same, 100%, level of performance consistently, unfortunately it never happens. One of the biggest reasons for this can come down to motivation and one of the key influences on motivation are the rewards and recognition someone receives for the work they do.

While this applies to everyone, it is a project manager’s responsibility to make sure that their team is as motivated and productive as possible. That might seem simple but knowing how to motivate your team can be a very complex subject.

Here are some tips on achieving maximum motivation within the budget, timeline and scope available for your project.

Have individual and team rewards

Individual goal-setting related to bonuses is common in project management but not everyone will rise to the top of the charts to nail that “Employee of the Month” spot. Some people might have performed over and above their expectations to make sure the team was a success. Rewarding good teamwork and the joint reaching of goals can be just as important a motivator as an individual bonus.

Make the reward system transparent

Trust is vital in building any strong team and that is just as prevalent a maxim when it comes to rewards. Your team needs to know exactly how rewards are obtained and what they need to do to get them. That means that everyone knows that whoever receives rewards will have earned them.

Where possible use objective performance metrics

Another way of achieving this desired transparency is by using clear metrics rather than awarding someone for what might “seem” like a great effort. Nobody’s perfect and it is possible for PMs to make mistakes and let previous biases cloud their judgement when it comes to employee performance. By using clear-cut metrics, you can avoid that and make sure that those who are contributing most get rewarded properly.

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Keep recognition meaningful

Not every system can be based around monetary rewards, due to both budget constraints and because often, personal recognition can be just as powerful. Project managers can use recognition as a powerful tool to encourage and motivate their team when used correctly. It’s also an important way to know how to motivate your team when the budget is tight.

This can be as easy as going up to the person and shaking their hand or telling them that you really appreciate what they’re doing. On a higher level, mentioning their efforts in a group email or meeting, as well as letting them know you have informed senior stakeholders of their input can let the team member know how valued they are on the project.

Link recognition and rewards

That kind of recognition can be very successful, but only up to a point. After consistent recognition of a team member’s contribution it is important to let them know that it is leading to a more tangible reward, otherwise they may end up feeling let down or even resentful that all they are getting is pretty words rather than concrete rewards.

As part of progress discussions with each employee, let them know that there are pathways to rewards such as promotions and salary increases, with verbal recognition is just one part of that.