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?
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.
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!
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:
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."
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."
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.
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Very wonderful explanation. We miss what we are today, but appreciating everyone we meet every day does not cost much. Happiness is contagious. Happiness spreads positive energy around everyone.
Thanks Jagdish for the feedback. Showing appreciation, even for small things, makes other people feel valued and good, and it helps us to feel good too! Let's all spread more positive energy!
This excellent article is about celebrating wins, however small, but it shouldn't be limited to working from home time. Although that is what is preoccupying us now, an individual can feel just as isolated when working close to others. A good organisation promotes positive thought at all times, the human characteristic of concentrating on the negative has to be actively challenged!
Good point David that we can apply some of the ideas to all work places at all times! Promoting positivity is a habit that needs to be encouraged at all times.
Visibility and celebration of team success had caused us great concern in lockdown remote working. Running an ideas workshop allowed us to air our thoughts and concerns in a safe space - from this virtual workshop we collectively came up with the idea of a bulletin to highlight our individual and team efforts in terms of skills workshops we had developed ourselves to support and upskill each other and adapt to our changing environment and other great and fun things we had achieved. Following on from this the bulletin was turned around in under a week and forwarded to our company senior leadership team by our manager , it boosted team morale and we received really positive feedback in terms of our achievements!
What a great initiative Colette to have done a 'good news' bulletin and forwarded to senior leadership team. Perhaps that idea will cascade to other teams as well and spread the positivity!