Skip to content
    December 19, 2022

    Celebration & Success

    January is a great time to come up with creative ways to celebrate progress and leaders at all levels driving positive change in your organization. Too often we wait until end of year to recognize contributions or do this at an annual company meeting. Those can be effective and important. However, finding ways to recognize incremental wins can do even more to enhance how your people feel about leadership and your company.

    Here's some good news. Small wins that are recognized can make a big difference in job performance. Team leaders can break a large goal down into smaller segments and give more regular positive feedback. If appropriate for your work culture, you can invite employees to nominate team members for weekly or monthly wins. Recognition of small wins highlights ongoing progress. That can have a very positive impact on employee engagement. Knowing what actually drives progress—and what does not— is key to effectively managing people and their work.

    “…in the realm of knowledge work, people are more creative and productive when their inner work lives are positive—when they feel happy, are intrinsically motivated by the work itself, and have positive perceptions of their colleagues and the organization.”  Harvard Business Review

    For anyone in your organization who is already contributing to employee engagement, make sure they know how much that is appreciated. Sharing what these employees are doing with everyone can lead to positive change in other departments. Pretty much everyone wants to be recognized and rewarded when they’ve achieved something. The more certain types of leadership and problem solving are rewarded appropriately, the faster your company can move towards an even better working environment. Leaders at all levels who understand the power of rewarding all progress, not just the big wins, help to create more intrinsic motivation. It is also important to understand that negative events and setbacks have a huge impact on everyone in an organization. Leaders and managers that find ways to minimize those events should also be recognized. It isn’t just about meeting quarterly quotas. In fact, rewarding small wins can help bigger goals get accomplished.

    So how do we recognize those that help our companies thrive and grow?  It shouldn’t be a one-size-fits all approach. Again, there should be recognition for both the big wins and ways to recognize smaller milestones.

    When thinking of rewarding an employee, it’s often about recognition in front of a group of people. However, your true introverts may not want that. In fact, it may be very stressful for them. On the other end of the spectrum, your true extrovert employee may love that kind of attention. A little strategy around what works best for different employees can go a long way.  

    Timing is also important. We are in an information overloaded world and change is happening constantly. Recognizing people as close to the “win” as possible makes a difference in how the employee feels about the recognition.  

    Rewards and recognition should be unique to your culture and your employees. Here are examples of what some companies have done:

    • Make a donation to that person’s favorite charity
    • Time Off (REAL time off – no calls/no emails) – ½ day or full day
    • Handwritten note
    • Paid lunch for a week
    • Opportunity to learn – company paid certification or class
    • Special mentoring in an area that is important to the employee
    • Choice on the next project they want to be involved in
    • Recognition on social media
    • A choice of three different rewards within a certain budget
    • Company recognition through a wall posting in a prominent place or using an internal virtual “wall of recognition”
    • Financial compensation

    There are a few companies out there that have offered things like a week’s paid vacation to Hawaii. One company helps employees with a down payment for a house as recognition.

    Large or small, it’s the recognition that makes the difference, whether it is that first-year employee, someone in middle management, or those in the C-Suite. It means the most when it is personal and done in the way that is most comfortable and meaningful for them.  

    Celebrating progress in the right way can have a very positive impact on your working environment. The benefit for the company is happier, more engaged, and more productive employees.  All of that can help your organization keep its competitive edge.

    Related Blog Posts

    View All Blog Posts