Celebrating Success: Fun and Memorable Ways to Recognise Milestones in the Workplace
Want to start celebrating milestones at work more regularly? Good on you!
If you recognise employees and celebrate milestones at Christmas, then by the time it has gotten to spring, it could have been around 100 days since your team last felt they were rewarded and celebrated for all they have done, and that means it’s well overdue.
We know in a busy business, you need some help with inspiration for celebrating milestones and achievements in the workplace – and reading this you are just in time as there is no better time than during the spring season.
See what unique and creative celebrations you can do to celebrate those milestones at work, what to say, and what to give!
Celebrate success at work – or risk losing your people!
We bet you can’t remember the finer details of your normal workday from a few weeks back – but that without a doubt, you will be able to recall a time when someone at work made you feel really special, clever or valued. Did a manager go out of their way to tell you your work was amazing? Did you get an email from a colleague that made you beam?
These moments of recognition stick around for years. If you want to share this positive feeling, it’s time to get a strategy for celebrating wins to bring into your office culture.
Using our intel from seeing thousands of Collection Pot funds set up to recognise, thank and reward colleagues for being superstars, we’ll show you the benefits of expressing gratitude in the workplace and give you some ideas for new ways to celebrate small wins.
What are the benefits when you express gratitude at work?
Employees are more likely to stay in the business – saving you money and time.
We’ve already spoken about those moments that stick in your mind when you’ve been given some lovely feedback – but what about the flip side – the times in your life when you have gone above and beyond but celebrating success at work has NOT been on your manager’s agenda. You might start off quite miffed, and if it happened again, would start to get actively disengaged. For some employees, this has happened so much that they no longer try.
You may have heard the phrase ‘quiet quitting’. This is where employees start decreasing their workload due to poor recognition and gratitude – where the focus is on doing the bare minimum to retain their salaried positions before leaving.
Retention is key for businesses, especially because rehiring is a long and expensive process. For each employee lost, you will have to sort various things and these come at a cost!
- Recruitment fees – 10/15% of starting salary.
- Training costs and time.
- New / replacement equipment / uniforms etc.
- Admin time for HR, payroll, finance, health and safety teams.
- Onboarding time for managers and leaders.
- Potential downtime or reduced service quality for customers and clients during the leaving/ hiring process.
- Potential overtime to cover the slack areas.
As you can see, why is it important to celebrate success at work? Simply, it’s good business sense!
Positive recognition acts like ‘reserves’ for goodwill
As any economist will tell you, it’s good business sense to have money in the bank. As any motorist will note, you don’t want a tank to run on empty. Expressing gratitude and thanks before you are running really low lets you lay down reserves in the good times for when employees need it. That means while many businesses will get busy thanking their teams in peak periods, they could actually be better off warming employees up with gratitude and thanks before the rush happens.
Office culture improves – even if you have a remote team
One of the complaints many businesses have with hybrid or remote working being more prevalent is that it’s hard to get the office culture right. While there is no fast track, having a team who are bonded together is a great place to start!
Peer-to-peer recognition as a principle encourages employees to recognise each other. This has various benefits, the key one being it isn’t all down to you as a manager! It also helps people feel comfortable with each other. Finally, expressing gratitude helps show what good looks like, which attracts more of the same behaviour. Your office culture can be:
- Quirky – you all send funny gifs when you recognise each other.
- Kind – you give to a charity every time you get positive client feedback.
- Helpful – you ask how you can help other teams proactively rather than waiting.
Why is it important to be celebrating milestones at work?
Before we answer – why do we mark milestones? Simply, they keep us moving. There are so many celebrating milestones at work quotes that show just how important it is to be celebrating milestones at work.
Celebrating milestones at work quotes we love:
- “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.
As Winston shows, it is those steps towards the finish line that matter.
- “It’s nice to have recognition for doing a good job, but at the end of the day, I’m just an actor and I’m doing my job and I’m always trying to get better at doing that job.”— Richard Madden.
As Richard shows, while recognition matters, it is intrinsic motivation that fuels us.
- “Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.”― Pablo Picasso.
As Picasso shows, each milestone is a moment that leads to the next big thing. So we should champion it!
Celebrating milestones at work – What’s normal?
Celebrating milestones at work used to be around marking 50 years of service. What happens when you find that people are leaving after 2 or 3?
If you are a smart business, you start to celebrate milestones sooner. People are looking to feel appreciated at work for all they do. And the big secret is, employees are powerful.
Each lost employee costs a considerable amount in recruitment fees, and rehiring costs, as well as the drain on resources to get a new person up to speed. Simply taking the time to help employees feel better by celebrating milestones is a far better way to spend budget.
- Shift away from the conventional practice of only rewarding employees at 5, 10, or 20-year milestones. In today’s dynamic economy, the idea of staying with one company for an entire career is no longer the norm. Instead, it’s crucial to offer incremental rewards that keep your employees motivated and engaged on a daily basis. Ultimately, what matters most to most staff is not necessarily the reward itself but the recognition that comes with it.
- Rather than relying on outdated approaches such as gold pens, it’s better to opt for a little-and-often approach that leads up to significant rewards for major milestones. The key here is recognition. With that in mind, here are five tips to help you establish effective milestone markers.
- Avoid waiting for 5 or 10 years to reward employees. Instead, consider offering rewards on an annual basis.
- Start small and gradually build up the rewards until they become more significant.
- Ensure your rewards are inclusive, accessible, and appealing to all employees, regardless of their gender, age, or personal preferences.
- Personalise your rewards by including heartfelt messages and branding elements.
- Consider adding some “theatre” to your recognition efforts. Make them feel grand, a worthy prize, and worth their hard work.
How to celebrate milestones at work
Office tips: How to celebrate success at work
If you want to have a new focus where you celebrate wins and express gratitude then you need a strategy. A strategy prevents you making a great start right away before tailing off and then suddenly going back to square one. Here’s how to celebrate success at work
Create separate channels for recognition and as a place to express gratitude.
Celebrate success at work in the places you already hang out and do work. Slack, Asana, Trelli, wherever you do your work can all be set up with a new space or area for moments of gratitude. You could call it client wins, big thanks or shout outs – and ensure that you task key people to populate it.
Even better, you could send people treats and allow them to share pics in the chat of their gift cards or sweets or whatever you pick.
Create your own special ritual – perhaps you add the thanks and a gif. Then the next person adds a gif – and so on. Start these rituals and try to speak to influential team members to encourage the chat to stay alive and kicking! Align whatever your company culture needs to look like to what you do and say.
Allocate time or a process to ensure you do celebrate wins
If you’ve never really done anything official about expressing gratitude, you need to be wary of forgetting. Tasks that are out of sight are out of mind! Make breathing space in your schedule.
For example, an all-hands company meeting could be started 5 minutes earlier or end slightly later so you can give thanks. You might want to carve out time for a monthly get-together or team lunch. Plan what would look good for your whole team and ensure that any intentions you have are being given the necessary time.
Ask employees how they feel they are thanked now
Are you actually much better at promoting thanks and celebrating wins than you thought? It can be easy to get caught up in what others are doing and saying online, and your team members may actually be really happy. On the other side, perhaps there are a few managers who do things really well, or really poorly. You need to be able to champion the people who ensure they celebrate success at work and improve the performance of weaker managers.
This is all critical information that can help you make changes and improvements. Celebrate success at work in new ways – but check that you don’t remove any things you are doing really well at the moment!
Don’t forget, every single thank you, ‘wow’ or ‘that was brilliant’ will stick in the mind of your team for years and years. There’s never been a better time to take your gratitude strategy seriously!
- Celebrate with a company-wide announcement and bring people together. Make sure to recognize the milestone with a company-wide announcement. This could include a special email or newsletter, or an announcement during a team meeting. Public recognition can help boost employee morale and motivation, so whether it’s on Slack or elsewhere, make it official!
- Provide a token gift: Consider a gift that is tailored to the employee’s interests or hobbies. This could include a gift card to their favourite restaurant or store, a personalised plaque, or something you share each time someone hits a milestone – some employees have a friendly ‘gonk’ or cuddly toy that sits on a desk and makes for a great icebreaker.
- Time with the CEO; Often, employees don’t get much face time with a CEO or founder. A milestone could see them being able to make these connections. A dinner or day with the CEO is a great way to further embed the team member into the culture.
- Give a bonus or raise: Consider offering the employee a bonus or raise as a way to celebrate their milestone. This can be a great way to show them that their hard work is valued and appreciated.
- Host a special event: Consider hosting a special event to celebrate the milestone, such as a team lunch, dinner, or happy hour. This can be a great way to show your appreciation and give everyone a chance to congratulate the employee.
- A gala dinner: Treat them to a gala dinner that allows them and other employees who have hit milestones to celebrate together.
Want a great office culture? It’s all down to your ability to celebrate wins and express gratitude – consistently! Celebrating success at work needs to be done regularly if you want a great culture – so celebrate success at work regularly and effectively!