Is Your Project Team Rewarding The Right People?

Project offices are typically full of high-performing employees who each play a key role in the team’s success. Rewarding these hard workers may seem easy, but a number of factors sometimes lead to one or two Project Team members receiving most of the accolades while the rest toil away unnoticed in the shadows.


One element behind these recognition challenges is the sheer workload facing many project offices. When the team is swamped, there’s little time left to identify and recognize team members whose efforts are truly exceptional. This lack of available time may also result in only those most obvious team members catching the eye of the Project Team’s leadership group.

If your team is interested in rewarding a wider group of employees, a deeper look into the support functions may be helpful. Below are a handful of places where recognition opportunities often lurk.

Contract negotiations. Laying the foundation for a successful vendor alliance begins with the contracts, service level agreements, and statements of work that define the relationship. The ability of the project office to seek resolution to problems and to ensure vendor compliance even during difficult circumstances often comes back to the groundwork established during the contract negotiation phase. The individuals who spearhead those efforts have earned some recognition when their early work saves the team’s bacon.

Purchasing. Pulling out a last-minute money-saving move gets all the attention, but careful buying on the front end gives the team the kind of solid start it needs to maintain adherence to even the tightest budgets. Seek out those who work through purchasing activities—sometimes they handle the function directly or, more often, they coordinate with a professional in the organization’s official purchasing group—and reward them when their judicious endeavors help the team achieve success in spite of a difficult buying environment.

Communications. Managing the information flow into, out of, and within the project office takes dedication and a lot of hard work. Maintaining connections with stakeholders can be difficult. Ensuring that open channels remain between the team and their sponsors and the executive group is even more challenging. When concerns are relayed to the team early enough for a successful intervention, when news is distributed in time to capitalize on favorable market conditions, when user requests are forwarded to the right team members in a way that boosts advocacy efforts—those are the times when your project office’s communication masters deserve some extra recognition.

Staffing. In order to have a high-functioning team, you need a group of high-functioning individuals. And who brings those top-notch professionals on board? The people on the team who spearhead recruiting and interviewing efforts. These key players probably partner with your organization’s human resources function to carry out the hiring process, but no doubt there are those on the project team that are responsible for sifting through the candidate pool to find the real gems who will bring expertise and energy to the Project Team. Any time a top performer does something amazing, look at who brought them on board in the first place.

Training. Ongoing education is crucial to repeatable project success. A strong training program helps team members remain up to speed on best practices and the most advanced methodologies, and it gives them the knowledge they need to carry out their tasks in the most effective and efficient way possible. In short, this education is part of what enables team members to hit those reward-worthy successes. The next time someone in your Project Team hits a home run, look to their training to find the behind-the-scenes guru who may also be in line for some recognition.

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