Gamification: Increase motivation and cohesion through team incentives

Referral programs such as Talentry’s Employee Referrals are among the most promising measures in HR because, through the gamification approach, they have a positive effect not only on recruitment but also on employer branding and employee retention. Team incentives are particularly popular in this respect. In times of mandatory social distancing, they can a valuable motivational aid.

Crisis-proof: Employee referrals whilst working from home

Team spirit and motivation in the workplace have seldom been so necessary as they are now. A two-nanometre virus has banished entire workforces to the home office. Forcing them into social isolation, where fear of the future slowly but surely creeps into their minds like ground fog. Short time working and tight budgets make employees doubt that, after Covid-19, there will ever be a working life that is once again enriching in every respect.

However, the pandemic is unlikely to bring about a significant reduction in the shortage of skilled workers. In contrast to meetings, trade fairs, and events, the search for talented employees has not been abandoned. Despite inadequate budgets and limited resources, referral programs such as Talentry’s Employee Referrals are still one of the most popular measures in which HR departments invest. In view of their effect on employee motivation – both in general and in times of crisis – there are valuable synergies to take advantage of. Rewards in the form of team incentives strengthen cohesion between colleagues and have proved to improve teamwork – whether face-to-face in the workplace or virtually when working from home.


Do reward programs foster a sense of entitlement?

Incentive and motivation through employee rewards? HR is not charging through open doors with this idea in every company. The ‘give it your little finger and it will take your whole hand’ scenario is a constant worry. Over time, don’t rewards have to get bigger, better and above all more expensive to motivate colleagues to make employee referrals again and again? And doesn’t a reward system automatically lead to employees having a certain sense of entitlement, so that in the end nothing is voluntary anymore – and every ‘additional wish’ of the employer needs to linked to a reward? The costs related to employee referrals would explode.


Gamification must fit the corporate culture

Although the fears are justified, many companies are already proving that there is another way. Here vouchers, gift packages, and giveaways work just as they should – as a token of appreciation for the referral and an incentive to continue being an ambassador for the employer. But we have learned that the gamification model must fit the corporate culture. And even then, motivation is always individual. Not every colleague appreciates the same rewards. Diversity and feedback from your own employees will help in making rewards individual. It is less about costly incentives and more about the direct reward effect. With the Talentry Reward Shop, a points system lets you decide which incentives employees receive, for example for sharing job posts or candidate referrals.


Team incentives are one of the most popular employee rewards

Large cash bonuses that are only paid after the recommended employee successfully passes the probationary period are not so popular by the way. Instead, team events are among the most frequently chosen rewards. A win-win situation for companies and employees. Because through colleagues sharing in success, the company benefits from the long-term team-building effect. A high ropes course, escape rooms, cookery school – the shared experience not only encourages other employees to achieve the same for their team, but it also provides perfect content for the company’s employer branding activities or, for example, but it can also be shared as a Talentry Story by the employees themselves as part of an ambassador program.


Talentry statistics:  the seven most popular team incentives  

Time (together) rather than money: our analysis has shown that rewards for the entire team are one of the most popular incentives in referral programs. These are the top 7: 

  1. Team breakfast
  2. Fruit basket for the team
  3. Chocolate surprise for the team
  4. Team parachuting event
  5. Team escape room event
  6. Voucher for a team event of your choice
  7. Football table for the office


💡 Pro Tip:

A smart way to promote your own referral program and get your colleagues on board is to encourage employees to make suggestions for team incentives in a given price range. You can then add the 10 best ones to the Talentry Rewards Shop.


Covid forces a virtual sense of community

Group events and the coronavirus go together about as well as custard and pickled onions. How can you conjure up team spirit, optimism, and motivation while observing strict social-distancing regulations? This is where resourceful event organizers have already rethought things to offer Covid-compliant experiences. True to the motto “The main thing is being together rather than alone” these sometimes take place purely virtually. For example, a team exiled to working from home can find their way out of a virtual escape room or celebrate together in a private online radio show – with a professional presenter, music requests, live interviews, and the obligatory radio quiz. Chocolate tasting, cookery schools, and baking courses are now also offered digitally – including a box of ingredients by post and an instructor who looks into the pots and pans from time to time online.


Team incentives are more than just a cost factor

Even if, in the long run, virtual team incentives do not have the same effect on employee retention and motivation as personal experiences, they do help maintain a sense of community and provide assurance.  For the employer, this form of recognition is far more than a mere cost factor, or as the HR Director at one of our clients recently so aptly put it: “If costs are incurred so that our employees can have breakfast and enjoy a good time together, then for me this is not a cost but an investment”.    


Interested in learning more about gamification?
🎥 Watch our “How to” video!


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