Most organizations are good at celebrating big wins. Land that killer deal or break company sales records, and the whole world knows. However, many companies are not so good at recognizing the small wins that, add up to sustained growth. Yet teams celebrating together can make a huge difference. Company culture, employee retention, and productivity will get a welcome boost from all those positive vibes. Workplace recognition can be hard to put into practice when you already have so much on your plate. This post takes you through the how, what and why of team celebrations. Whether your people work remotely, in person, or in a hybrid model, we have got you covered.
Why Is It Important To Celebrate A Team’s Achievements?
If you don’t already celebrate workplace achievements, here are some compelling reasons to convince you otherwise.
Increase Employee Retention
Did you know that for 55 percent of workers planning to leave their jobs, lack of recognition is the main driving force? Or that 69 percent would likely have stayed if their employer recognized and celebrated success more often? Saying thank you could well positively impact your employee retention rates.
Pausing to reflect on your successes and achievements leads to productivity gains. Your people are motivated to improve even more. And sharing knowledge and expertise means the whole organization benefits from internal best practices.
Boost Company Culture
Teams that take pride in their work have a strong bond. Group celebrations bring people together. And that feel-good factor works like rocket fuel to power morale and a shared sense of purpose.
When To Celebrate Your Team At Work
So, what wins at work are causes for celebration? The golden rule is to be authentic and genuine. Go into overdrive with celebrations every day, and the recognition may come across as false and unnatural. Here are some ideas on the right moments to recognize and reward.
- First wins are important for new hires but also for anyone taking on new challenges or responsibilities
- Project completions
- Meeting team targets and goals
- Things that make a difference, whether it’s covering a colleague’s vacation leave or coming up with a money-saving innovation
- Newly arrived or departing co-workers
- Outstanding customer reviews
- Internal promotions
- Breakthrough performance – it could be exceptional individual or team achievements
- Consistently good performers – don’t forget those team members whose ongoing and often unglamorous daily efforts keep the organization’s wheels oiled
There’s a balance to be struck between new hires and more established employees. You may want to recognize recruits more frequently to develop confidence and reinforce good performance. However, too much praise for senior or long-serving staff may feel patronizing. So, for these employees, save your celebrations for exceptional performance.
How Do You Creatively Celebrate Your Team’s Wins?
The good news is team celebrations don’t have to blow the budget. Of course, your employees will always welcome financial rewards. However, there are a ton of other ways to recognize good performance. The world of work is now more varied and complex than ever with office-based, remote and hybrid setups. And so, whatever your work model, we have come up with a range of ways teams can celebrate.
Teams Celebrating: 15 Ways To Get Started
In-Person Team Celebrations
1. Annual Recognition Awards
Think of it as your company’s very own Oscars ceremony. An annual awards event makes your people feel special. Get creative with the awards categories, so everyone has a chance of winning. Alongside recognition for your top performers, how about long-service awards and most helpful colleague?
2. Team Outings
An oldie, but still a goldie. There’s no better way to reward staff for a job well done at the end of a successful project than a shared lunch or happy hour. Spending quality time together cements those all-important personal relationships. And taking time out from the daily grind means employees can relax, reflect and refocus, ready for the next challenge.
3. Team Meetings
Next time you hold a team meeting, consider taking five minutes at the start to thank the team. Recognize hard work or wins, however small, shoutout workers who have gone the extra mile or celebrate a birthday. Better still, have an open mic to encourage peer-to-peer recognition.
4. Project Retrospectives
When it comes to wrapping up a project, more often than not, the emphasis is on the negatives. We naturally focus on aspects that didn’t go so well: problems, roadblocks, or strained relationships. While exploring areas for improvement is vital, reflecting on the positives is just as important. Make sure your project retrospective recognizes the wins and acknowledges achievements.
5. Celebrate Cultural Holidays And Special Days
Cultural holidays offer the perfect excuse for team celebrations. Plus, workers get to learn about the diverse cultures of colleagues. Whether it’s Diwali, Chinese New Year, or St Patrick’s Day – get individuals or groups together to organize team festivities. What’s more, don’t forget those quirky special days that occur throughout the year. A tech start-up has to celebrate Programmers’ Day on September 13, right? And surely every company should honor National Clean Your Desk Day on January 13. There’s bound to be a pop culture holiday perfect for your business.
Virtual Team Celebrations
The following virtual celebration ideas will ensure remote teams don’t miss out on all the fun.
6. Online Shared Lunches And Get Togethers
Just because your team works from home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy get-togethers. Shared lunches or happy hours via Zoom or Microsoft Teams work just as well. It’s even possible to do a virtual day out with a trip to the local zoo or museum. Online parties offer the opportunity for remote workers to relax, re-energize and celebrate with their colleagues. After all, many remote workers miss the camaraderie and socializing that comes with office-based working. So, these opportunities are a lifeline for telecommuters.
7. Virtual Team Building Events
Virtual team building activities are also great ways to celebrate as a team. These events bring people together, from virtual escape rooms to online board games and bake-offs. Thank your remote team with a fun, shared activity and build a sense of community.
8. Send Care Packages Or Company Swag
Who doesn’t love receiving an unexpected gift in the mail, right? Next time your remote team hits all their targets, why not reward them with a box of company goodies? Branded hats, mugs, or stationery reinforce the group’s identity, making them proud to be part of the company. Other possibilities include house plants, gift vouchers, candles, or snack boxes. Your token of appreciation doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. Employee gifts make staff feel special and appreciated.
9. Share Your People’s Stories
Shine a spotlight on your star people with a story on the employee intranet or social media channels. It could be a video feature or a simple Q&A. Either way, your staff can enjoy celebrity status. And it’s a great way for remote workers to connect with each other and learn about their colleagues.
10. Create A Team Timeline
Whether it’s a slideshow, PowerPoint presentation, or intranet activity wall, highlight your team’s achievements. A real-time record is a perfect platform for showcasing important milestones and wins. And you can make it personalized by adding accomplishments outside work. Why not celebrate Brad’s new home or Sheryl’s first child? We often can’t remember what we had for lunch last week, let alone what the team achieved several months ago. A timeline is a permanent and meaningful record of the group’s long-term successes.
Hybrid Team Celebrations
With distributed teams, all members should have equal opportunities to celebrate. The following ideas work just as well for those in the office or at home.
11. Toast Teammates With A Shoutout
Set up a dedicated channel on your business instant messaging platform to shout out teams or individuals doing great work. Public recognition is a huge morale booster. And it’s also perfect for encouraging peer-to-peer acknowledgment. Often, a public thank you from a co-worker has more meaning than a pat on the back from the boss.
12. Bonus Days Off
Non-monetary incentives can work wonders for team celebrations. After all, who wouldn’t welcome a duvet day or extra time to relax with family and friends? An afternoon is the next best thing if a whole day is too big a stretch for your business.
13. Give Back To The Community
Giving back to the community with corporate volunteering or fundraising initiatives has many positive spinoffs. Doing good raises morale and binds teams together. And there are plenty of options for hybrid departments. Office-based workers can help out at soup kitchens and beach clean-ups. And their home-based colleagues can offer their expertise online to support charitable organizations or make a donation.
14. Staff Recognition Programs
Formal employee recognition initiatives are perfect for hybrid environments, as everyone can get involved. Whether it’s employee of the month or team of the year, celebrate your top talent and reward star performers.
15. Hold Recognition Workshops
Give employees or teams a chance to shine with a recognition workshop. You can live stream for remote colleagues, or the entire event can be online. Either way, it’s an opportunity for the team to enjoy the limelight. And the whole organization benefits from their shared knowledge and expertise.
Public Vs. Private Recognition
While this blog focuses on teams celebrating, it’s worthwhile mentioning private recognition. According to one survey, 52 percent of employees want more recognition from their immediate supervisor. So, while it’s important to celebrate as a team, remember also to acknowledge individual successes privately. Here are some ideas for celebrating with your direct reports:
- Thank you cards or emails
- A specially arranged meeting
- External seminars or workshops
- Extra responsibilities
- Shoutout on LinkedIn or team chat
- Opportunity to work on a special project
- Honorarium or special bonus
Tips On How Not to Celebrate
Finally, a quick word about inappropriate team celebrations. Here are some tips to help you avoid unnecessary offense or conflict.
- Share the recognition spotlight fairly around teams or workers. Avoid focussing on only one individual or department.
- Don’t splash out on an extravagant event if redundancies and layoffs are on the cards.
- Be mindful of individuals within the team. Avoid weekend events when some team members may have caring responsibilities. And if alcohol is included in the celebration, have plenty of non-alcoholic options for those who don’t drink.
- Try not to celebrate a team leader without acknowledging the whole team’s input.
- Avoid making team celebrations a one-off event with nothing for the rest of the year. Your staff will question your credibility and think you are just paying lip service.
Teams Celebrating: Key Messages
Especially in today’s challenging times, celebrating big and small wins together brings out the best in your people. And the benefits extend far beyond just the feel-good factor. Team celebrations can power up your retention and productivity rates. And they will also improve your employer brand, making you a fantastic place to work. And the good news is they don’t need to blow the budget. Use the tips we have shared to ensure that celebrating team successes is part of your organization’s daily activities.
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