Teamwork is extremely prevalent, especially in the services sector, a growing part of the economy. How can we spur top performance from our teams?
Social Service Activities Spark Team Players
First thing’s first, start with hiring the right people. Researchers studied candidates’ willingness to contribute to the team effort rather than waiting for others to do the work. Candidates who listed on their resumes activities like working with the elderly or the disabled were significantly more likely to be team players. By contrast, candidates who participated in sports teams or student organizations were no more likely to be team players than the average candidate.
Team Incentives Lead to Increased Profit
On top of hiring the right people, you can enhance team performance by setting the right incentives. In a large German bakery chain, team bonuses were introduced for bakeries that reached their sales targets. These bonuses motivated bakery employees to increase the number of customers they served, and therefore increase sales. Each dollar spent on the team bonus increased sales by $3.80 and profits by $2.10.
Team Performance Bonuses Work Better for Busy Teams
Which bakeries enhanced their sales the most in response to a team bonus? The researchers found that the effect of the team bonus was largest in larger cities. In an area with many customers, bakery employees were able to increase sales by speeding up the service during busy times. Team bonus pay is more likely to be effective when employees have work that they could accomplish if they were quicker and more efficient as a team.
Ioana Marinescu is an assistant professor in economics at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Her research focuses on understanding labor markets. She has been collaborating on data and research projects with CareerBuilder and she is especially interested in how to get the right people to work in the right jobs. You can follow her on twitter @mioana and check out her research on her website, marinescu.eu.