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Level Up Your Sales Team: Key Strategies to Improve Team Performance

Level Up Your Sales Team: Key Strategies to Improve Team Performance

Focus on motivation over productivity, and inspire your team to reach new heights.

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When it comes to retaining great team members, employee recognition programs and initiatives can play a crucial role.

According to Josh Bersin, founder and principal at Bersin by Deloitte, companies with a "recognition-rich culture" have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.

A recognition-rich culture makes people feel valued, which leads to deeper commitment, better teamwork and team efficiency, happier employees, and more satisfied customers.

What Is Employee Recognition?

Employee recognition is the process of showing appreciation for an employee's achievements, attitude, implication in the business, and engagement.

When you recognize your employees, you show them that you value their work and you help them understand that their work has a great impact on your business success.

Employee recognition is a great way to boost employee motivation and team productivity, improve the employee experience you deliver, empower employees, and increase employee engagement at your workplace.

Employee recognition can take monetary and non-monetary forms but keep in mind that it's important that the way you recognize your employees reflects your company culture and utilizes clear goals.

Create Peer Recognition Programs

Peer recognition programs make it easy for team members to recognize fellow members in a public way, in solidarity of a common goal.

Not only does this promote high-performing teams, but it also brings stories forward that management may not have been aware of otherwise.

A basic framework for a peer recognition program is to create a way for employees to acknowledge publicly another employee for work well done.

  • You can have a traveling trophy that gets passed on by an employee whenever the current recipient sees another person doing something great.
  • You can create a page on your corporate intranet, a dedicated Slack channel,  or a "wall of fame" in the company break room or conference room where people post weekly "shout outs." Use cute certificates or fun-shaped sticky notes for the wall of fame. Provide fun animated gifs or emoji for the intranet page.
  • Upper management can take it a step further during a company-wide meeting or through the company newsletter by publicly thanking or mentioning those individuals identified by their peers.
  • Utilize an employee engagement app like Cooleaf designed to engage, recognize, and motivate teams.

Include Gift Card Incentives

Gift cards also motivate employees and make them feel appreciated. You can tie these to specific metrics or use them to reward above-and-beyond performance.

Regardless of how you use the gift cards in your employee recognition program you choose, make sure the recognition efforts are public, frequent, and tied to the company goals and values.

Encourage Social Media Recognition

In the digital era, taking employee recognition to social media can be a powerful way to recognize employees.

You can highlight an employee of the week on your LinkedIn or Facebook company page. Create a tweet to highlight how a team member went above and beyond for a customer. Have an executive write a LinkedIn recommendation for a job well done. Here again, you can use special animated gifs or emoji to give it some visual flair.

Not only do these types of rewards make team members feel great, but they also boost productivity and contribute to having an effective team.

These shout outs can also strengthen the confidence of customers who follow you on social media, as they will see what a dedicated and talented team you have.

Reward Your Employees with Team-Building Activities

If a department or team has pushed themselves above and beyond to complete a project or serve a customer, a team-building activity or team outing may be the perfect way to recognize the contributions of the group.

For example, Cooleaf organizes fun activities such as yoga classes, sports tournaments, or  workshops to help you reward your hard-working employees.

Corporate team-building activities (bowling, mini golf, laser tag, etc.) or even a pizza party demonstrates that the company realizes the extra effort the team put in to accomplish a goal for the organization. These activities are especially crucial in recognizing remote work and remote teams, so they don’t feel disconnected from the organization.

Give Your Employees the Opportunity to Be Heard

Another way to make employees feel valued and appreciated, therefore increasing retention,  is to give them an opportunity to develop ideas and present them to upper management.

You may need to develop guidelines and a vetting process, but it can be well worth the effort. Not only does this type of program make employees feel valued as individual contributors, you could uncover ideas that save money, generate more sales, or improve customer satisfaction.

Another way to recognize your employees is to give them the opportunity to take ownership of their work. Let your employees suggest ideas, implement solutions they've suggested and most importantly, let them make decisions. That way you show them that you trust them and that you appreciate their work.

Allowing employees to take ownership of their work is one of the key elements of improving team performance and team communication.

employee recognition guide

Bonus: The Do's and Don'ts of Employee Recognition in the Workplace

The Do's of Employee Recognition

  • Do make each employee feel special
  • Do offer personalized perks
  • Do show honest appreciation for a completed task
  • Do launch an employee recognition program that reflects the company culture
  • Do be fair when it comes to employee recognition
  • Do be proactive in recognizing your employees
  • Do explain why you chose to recognize specific employees
  • Do recognize teams
  • Do publicize employee recognition

The Don'ts of Employee Recognition

  • Don't forget to recognize their contribution to the business success
  • Don't forget to reward any kind of contribution to the business
  • Don't set the bar too high
  • Don't forget to reward team efforts
  • Don't ignore your employees' hobbies so you can reward their hard work with personalized perks
  • Don't forget to make employee recognition fun
  • Don't forget to encourage your employees, even if they haven't delivered exceptional results yet


Employee recognition is the key when it comes to employee motivation and employee engagement in the workplace. If you want your employees to feel engaged and stay with the organization, you need to show them that you value their work and their contribution to the business. Remember that your employees are your most valuable asset.



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