Celebrating the Wins

8 mins read

This article explores the value of Celebrating the Wins at work, both personally and professionally, and gives some ideas on how to start creating a culture of gratitude and celebration.

What Does Celebrating the Wins Mean?

Celebrating the wins is more than celebrating the biggest moments in your business’s year or month. It is about expressing gratitude and support for all forms of winning, big and small, individual and team. While it is exciting to highlight profound moments of success, it is equally important to celebrate smaller milestones and goals in order to keep employees feeling that they are moving together towards something meaningful.

It may seem strange to celebrate small goals being reached, as ultimately this is the assumed trajectory of a business, but taking the time and energy to celebrate achieving those goals keeps everyone involved excited and oriented towards doing their best. Individual employees can get too easily lost in the day-to-day actions of their job, seeing the work that they do as isolated. Celebrating the wins is a way to remind everyone of the greater goals, the bigger picture, and the way that each and every one of those employees is contributing something valuable to a real celebration-worthy achievement.

Celebrating the wins can mean anything from personally congratulating or thanking employees for their achievements, sending out a newsletter, holding company-wide celebratory events, gifting something tangible to congratulate employees on a job-well done, and more. Not to mention, this doesn’t always need to come from management down! By taking that first step and expressing interest and excitement over achievements in your business, you encourage others to do the same. Your example can inspire colleagues to recognize one another’s accomplishments, trials, and successes. This creates a community within the business, one where support and praise are common practice and goals are team-oriented, removing isolation from the equation.

Why Celebrate the Wins?

Whether the win seems big or small, taking note of it and expressing pride in your employees’ successes will increase individual engagement in work and greatly impact happiness in the workplace day-to-day. Some studies estimate that employees are 5 times more likely to stay with a company when regularly acknowledged for good work,1 and as negative events tend to stick in our brains more than positive, be sure to emphasize the positive!

When you take the time to recognize both large and small wins, employees are more likely to strive for their highest potential. This is due to the progress principle.

The progress principle suggests that “of all things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.”2 When you celebrate the work accomplished, it gives meaning to that work and motivates team members to push for stronger results.

As you foster celebrating the wins, that recognition shows team members that their work is having a direct impact on the success of the company and motivates them to contribute their best work. When individual employees are only aware of their own work and some vague, intangible goals, there is little understanding of what tangible role their work truly plays. By celebrating goals, you ensure no one feels like a “cog in the machine,” but rather that each person is an individual asset to the greater team and a key player.

How to Celebrate the Wins!

Now that we know what celebrating the wins means and why this is a great practice for your business, the big question is how do you celebrate those wins? When initiating a celebration, be sure to keep in mind those whose wins you are celebrating. Whether it’s a group win or an individual one, tailoring your celebration to your company and your employees will remove any “canned” elements and make it a truly genuine gesture of appreciation and pride.

There are a variety of ways you can celebrate your wins. Personal recognition through emails or cards are classic for a reason, they maintain a direct line of communication and congratulations to the individual(s) involved. Sending a group email or handing a card around can be great ways to inform everyone that a win has been achieved. Celebratory events can also be a fun way to celebrate wins in the workplace, by providing a fun, casual environment in which everyone can consider the work accomplished and celebrate a job well done.

While the above are traditional methods of celebrating, if you want to go that extra mile, find a way to be creative and personalized with your celebrations! Create some unique traditions or routines for your company; what standards do you want to set for celebrating? Implement something fun that speaks to the personality of your business and your people. For example, Groupon rewards outstanding teammates for excellence in living their core values by rewarding them with custom green Chuck Taylor shoes. You can choose something recognizable and perhaps silly, but attainable and fun to strive towards. Of course, you can also include monetary compensation as part of your celebration, but another fun way to foster a generous and thankful culture is to turn that monetary compensation into a donation to your team member’s charities of choice. Be creative!

Whatever method you choose to celebrate the wins in your workplace, always remember why you are doing this. To have fun? Yes. To build teamwork? Absolutely. To create a unified, grateful company culture in which employees are reaching for high standards and feeling positively about doing so? That’s the key. So, take a few minutes, put on your party hat, and celebrate the wins at work even if they seem small, because even the smallest wins can have a BIG impact on your company’s culture.

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of celebrating the wins, it’s important to acknowledge that not every venture or risk’s outcome can be easily designated a “win.” Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, struggles become overwhelming, and ideas don’t work out the way you want. Join us in the companion to this article, Processing the Losses, where we discuss the value of loss and learning moments.

1 Dutta, Darsana. “5 Eye-Opening Statistics to Cement the Importance of Rewards and Recognition in the Workplace.” https://blog.sage.hr/5-eye-opening-statistics-to-cement-the-importance-of-rewards-and-recognition-in-the-workplace/

2 Amabile, Teresa M. and Steven J. Kramer. “The Power of Small Wins.” Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2011/05/the-power-of-small-wins

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