Celebrating success is one of the simplest and yet most effective ways managers can motivate their people.
It can boost feelings of self-worth, accomplishment and value. More than that, studies have shown that noticing good work can increase productivity and loyalty, and reduce staff turnover.
So, why are we so bad at it?
Why Is It So Hard to Celebrate Success?
Some people find it difficult to celebrate or give praise because it’s not naturally in their habit to do so. Perhaps they grew up in an environment where it wasn’t the norm. Or, they may be introverts, and handing out compliments makes them feel uncomfortable.
Celebrating success can be difficult even when you work in an office, so it’s likely even harder when your team is working remotely, as is the norm for so many people today.
Also, to be able to celebrate someone’s success, quite often you need to have seen them achieving it! Obviously this is much harder in lockdown. The only time I see anyone these days is through my computer screen. And really it’s just their head and possibly some shoulder. Maybe a plant in the background.
Celebration in Lockdown Takes More Effort
So, to be able to celebrate successes in a virtual team you really need to be paying attention to other people’s work. When you see a piece of work that someone has clearly put a lot of effort into, don’t be afraid to jump on Slack or Skype or Zoom to tell them how great it is.
It doesn’t have to be a huge, gushing paragraph about how brilliant they are either. (Though those are, of course, nice if you have the time). Use emojis, a “like” button, a smiley face, or (my personal favorite) the “tada” emoji.
But do it quickly, because you’ll likely forget about it or be distracted if you leave it for a later time. Worse, the other person may feel that their hard work is not being valued.
It’s important that we cut through the noise, distractions and anxiety of this lockdown. Put it to one side, and remember to stop and say “thank you” to one another for keeping it together, for continuing to meet deadlines, and still, well, just “being there!”
Enough of the bad, let’s focus on something good!
How Do You Celebrate at Home?
So how can we ensure that we’re celebrating together when we’re no longer working together physically?
We asked our friends and followers on social media for their tips on celebrating success when working from home. Here is a selection of replies:
Create a Special Kudos Channel
Giving kudos remotely takes a little bit of extra thought. A number of our followers suggested creating a special communications channel dedicated to celebrating success.
Tracy Bourgoine on LinkedIn said, “My company uses a public Teams channel to post ‘shoutouts’ each month. A focused effort to encourage posting, and last month we did a full team meeting to review them. It worked surprisingly well. Have a drink together/remotely while reviewing the list.”
Diala Ajlouni, also on LinkedIn, uses a similar strategy. She said, “We “Acknowledge our employees through an internal channel.”
Schedule Weekly Get-Togethers
Other people suggested creating “end-of-week” meetings that everyone could join, to celebrate project successes and show appreciation.
LinkedIn follower Clive Steer described how his company organize this. He said, “We use our own product, Friday Pulse, as a weekly chance for teams to thank colleagues, celebrate successes, and share ideas and frustrations, along with a weekly measure of how each team is feeling. It works like a dream.
“But whatever you use, the key is to have regular team discussions about results. Without that, people don’t feel that they have a voice.”
Heather Glocke, also on LinkedIn, commented that her company does a similar thing. She said, “We end the week with a 15-minute meeting celebrating our successes or recognizing colleagues.”
Little Things Can Mean a Lot
Throughout lockdown, and all the anxieties that it has brought with it, I’ve found that it’s been the little things that have really helped me to stay positive and keep smiling.
In fact, my company surprised me with a little box of beans to grow in my garden, with a lovely note saying, “We’re all in this together.” Little reminders like this are unexpected and create joy.
Lynn Marie, a Facebook friend, said her company has been doing lots of little things to keep people connected and happy.
She said, “Our team of bankers just processed thousands of PPP [paycheck protection program] loans, and we are working from all over the place right now. We have been having group phone calls, emails with inspirational and congratulatory messages, funny cartoons and memes. We’ve also received gift boxes of goodies for each team member sent to their home, bonuses, and now some rolling days off. I would give them all a big huge hug if I could!”
If you have any top tips about how you celebrate success in a virtual team, share them in the Comments section, below.