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Rewarding Employees and Project Team Members Without Breaking the Bank

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Your wallet is empty but you still need to reward your employees or project team members? Check out these eight morale boosters to show you care!

With a tight budget, how do you keep morale high? This is not a new problem – it is something with which managers have perennially struggled; in fact, we can trace this problem – and creative solutions to it – all the way back to projects like the construction of the Giza Pyramid and the Roman Colosseum.

Over the course of time, different reward systems have been used successfully to motivate individuals and teams to deliver projects. For example, the French Panama Canal Project (1882-1888) chose the wrong reward system that ended up bankrupting the project while only achieving meager results. Later, the U.S.A. learned many lessons from this project failure, and took a very different approach in setting up a reward system which resulted in the successful completion the project in 1914.

In another famous example, the U.S. Transcontinental Railroad Construction Project ran very quickly into trouble and looked doomed to fail when spiraling costs got out of control. When the right reward systems were then put in place, however, the project turned around to become one of the most successful projects of the 19th Century.

In these economically-challenged times, the use of rewards might seem extravagant — but building team morale is even more important in tough times! Nevertheless, even the best reward ideas can fall flat if they aren't suitable to the person, the organization, the situation or the magnitude of the accomplishment.

In this one-day workshop, learn four key factors that will maximize the impact of your rewards, and secrets of the best managers that will guarantee delighted recipients. Historical case studies will be used to illustrate the key lessons and bring the topic to life.

If you don’t have a rewards budget, don’t worry – managers have been solving this problem in creative ways for thousands of years. Learn both modern and ancient techniques that still apply today – for example, see how cash-strapped medieval managers motivated teams of people building some of the world’s most celebrated buildings. Step-up your team's morale with non-monetary rewards and others costing less than $20!


Participants will gain practical skills to:

  • Reward your team members at low or no cost
  • Build a mix of rewards that encourage the right behaviors
  • Prepare a rewards budget
  • Understand why we reward, and why some people are uncomfortable giving rewards
  • Choose the right reward
  • Give a reward most effectively
  • Understand the pitfalls to avoid, including how some rewards can destroy team-building efforts
  • Build a rewards program using 8 categories of inexpensive rewards



There are no prerequisites, this is a stand-alone course.


You will receive an in-class workbook containing copies of the presentation materials and a copy of the book 101 Ways to Reward Team Members for $20 (or Less!).



  • Introductions
  • Why do we reward?
  • Rewarding Benefits for the Giver and Recipient
  • Exercise: The Pros and Cons of Rewarding


Controversies Surrounding Rewarding

  • Whether or Not to Reward
  • Size of Rewards
  • Misuse of Rewards
  • Exercise: Exploring Barriers to Rewards


Choosing the Right Reward

  • Suiting the Person
  • Suiting the Accomplishment
  • Tying the Reward to the Accomplishment
  • Giving the Reward in a Timely Fashion
  • Discussion: Sharing Personal Examples
  • Exercise: Choosing the Right Reward (Case Studies)


Delivering a Reward Successfully

  • Preconditions to effectively giving a reward
  • Examples of ineffective rewards
  • Discussion: Sharing Personal Examples


Individual vs. Team Rewards

  • How they affect people differently
  • Competitive Rewards vs. Hurdle-Based Rewards
  • Exercise: Case study on team vs. individual rewards


Reward Mixes and Programme Design

  • Notes on Optimizing Rewards Mixes
  • Exercise: Case study on rewards programme design


Categories of Rewards and Reward Ideas Wrap Up

  • Recap of Key Points
  • Workshop evaluation forms


course info

Course ID: 4301
Course Level: Beginner
Duration: 1 day

upcoming sessions

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PMI Talent TriangleThe following table provides the breakdown of the professional development units (PDUs) for this course aligned with the PMI Talent TriangleTM.

  Tech. Ldrshp. Strat. & Bus.
PMP 0 6.5 0.5
PgMP 0 6.5 0.5
PfMP 0 6.5 0.5
PMI-ACP 0 6.5 0.5
PMI-SP 0 6.5 0.5
PMI-RMP 0 6.5 0.5
PMI-PBA 0 6.5 0.5

The three columns in the above table are Technical Project Management, Leadership, and Strategic & Business Management.

Other Credits

Other professional (re)certification credits are available, including:

  • Certified Business Analyst Professionals (CBAPs) earn 7CDUs (Category 2B)
  • Certified Software Quality Engineers (CSQEs) earn 1 RU
  • CIPS Information Systems Professionals (ISPs) earn 7 Learning Credits
  • CIPS Information Technology Certified Professional (ITCPs) earn 7 Learning Credits