When was the last team you and your team celebrated your efforts? Don't forget to celebrate your success, for the sake of team spirit and improvement in performance! There are several reasons why you should recognize team success if you aren't doing so already! But first things first, how do you define success?
If you’re in sales, is it making $50,000 in revenue, or a 60% year-on-year growth? These numbers could be the mark of success, but in reality success doesn’t always have to be linked to monetary gains or a long term effort. Success is worth celebrating whenever a goal is achieved, be it short or long term, individual or team.
Ask teammates to share success stories
A lot can be learned from one person’s success, that can help other team members grow or spark thoughts on what they might improve in the way they work. For example, a member of your customer support team has an exceptionally high level of customer satisfaction because she developed her own flow to deal with inquiries and follow up with customers, which has proven to be effective.
In sharing the positive feedback she received, she can use this as an opportunity to share how the idea of the workflow came to her, and how she created it. This is not only a nice way of celebrating success as a team, but also creates a teaching moment for team members to learn from each other, and share best practices that will benefit the whole team’s performance.
Sharing success, strengthens teams
Sharing individual success stories with the team shouldn’t be perceived as an opportunity to show off, or make other team members feel as if they are less valued. On the contrary, it should be a way to reinforce overall team motivation, and strengthen relationships between team members. It should also motivate employees to start sharing more positive feedback with each other, as a way of supporting team morale.
Peer recognition reinforces feedback received by managers, and helps people feel valued in the workplace. When people receive feedback on work they have done, or on time and effort invested, this boosts their self-esteem, and supports improved performance overall.
In essence, sharing success and encouraging peer recognition are the tools to grow your culture of feedback. Gratitude and appreciation increase motivation, meaning employees are more inclined to continue contributing to overall team and company objectives, resulting in greater productivity overall.
How to share a success story
Sharing success is like telling a story: you want it to have an impact. The aim is to inspire people to develop and achieve their own goals. Here are some tips for a good story:
Focus on useful content
You want your audience to take home practical tips. Ensure you outline the step-by-step process you took to achieve a goal. Share these steps as a inspiration for others who are looking to solve a similar problem.
Be inspirational and authentic
You want to inspire your audience so they feel capable of achieving something similar themselves. Think back to the obstacles you encountered and how you overcame them. This serves several purposes: first it shows that you didn’t achieve success from the get go. Second it also helps show creative problem solving and ways to find solutions, that can be inspiring when people hit a road-block. It will remind them that others have been through something similar before.
How to celebrate achievements
As manager, it’s important to take time to celebrate employee achievements. It’s easy to get stuck in the day to day, and move on to executing the next task. But as mentioned, in order to support team motivation, victories big and small should be celebrated.
Show your team you don’t take their hard work for granted. Here are some tips for you, as manager, to make a positive impact with recognizing employee achievement.
Do it soon
As a manager, you should always know what is going on in your team. If your employees do something great, you should be the first to notice and congratulate them. Praise them out loud, send them an email, or send a message in your team’s Slack channel… If warranted, an official congratulation or a bonus can come later, but there is no reason why you should wait to thank an employee for his or her hard work.
Make it public
Public recognition can be even more impactful than praise shared privately. There’s no need to go all out, it can be as simple as bringing it up at a team meeting, sharing it with people outside your direct team, or sending a company-wide email. In addition to making your team member feel valued, it also boosts their self-esteem more.
Add a gift
A handwritten thank-you note already goes a long way, but in some cases you may want to recognize someone’s achievement with a bigger reward. Once again it doesn’t have to be extremely costly, it’s the gesture that counts.
Here are some ideas of rewards that will cost the company far less than a bonus or a pay rise, but are just as effective:
The opportunity to work from home, or flexible hours (if this isn’t a regular practice in your company)
Lunch out with the team
A gift voucher from a local shop, or a voucher for an experience (i.e. restaurant or other activity)
A subscription to a business related magazine
The opportunity to attend a conference in their field of work
And much more…
The key to success for rewards is to ensure they are personalized. This shows that you’re not only celebrating your team member’s work, but that you also took the time to get to know them as a person. Make the effort to find out what your employees like, what their hobbies are, and what they are passionate about. For example, if an employee likes reading, a book signed by his or her favourite author could make a great gift.
Building and maintaining a strong team is a challenging job. Take pride in your team’s success by celebrate it. Whenever someone achieves a goal, show your appreciation in a timely and public manner. Don’t forget that a personalized touch or a gift can also go a long way. Recognize employee achievement and your workforce will be more engaged, motivated and loyal.