Every team has goals. So does every business. And generally speaking, teams have a whole lot more fun when they’re achieving those things. In fact, one of the best things about being on a team is the camaraderie that goes along with working, training, sweating, succeeding, and celebrating together.
But that’s not always the case. Sometimes we find ourselves on teams where it the goal is simply “more.” And where pausing to acknowledge successes along the way is seen as a wasted time.
In these nose-to-the-grindstone cultures, even when you achieve major milestones, there’s no time to celebrate. In many ways, it feels like there is no real victory. Because a brighter, shinier, new goal has already been set that much farther ahead. And now you’ve got to immediately start working on something bigger, better, faster, cheaper, and even more extraordinary that the last thing you accomplished.
How much fun does that sound? And how long would it be before you started looking for another team?
Here’s a little secret to building happy, loyal, and productive teams:
It’s okay to celebrate!
In fact, you must.
In order to keep people feeling motivated, excited and appreciated, they need to be recognized for their hard work and incremental successes.
Imagine if your team made it to the playoffs, but instead of allowing them that champagne moment, you expected them to get right back out on the practice field? How motivated would your players be to keep up the momentum?
There are reasons we don’t watch sports complete silence.
- We cheer in anticipation of what might happen
- We cheer to energize the team— and the fans
- We cheer to recognize extreme effort and great plays
- We cheer to inspire, because positive energy is contagious
We cheer because it rallies people around a common goal, and makes achieving that goal a whole heck of a lot more fun.
Does everyone need a trophy?
Of course not. And yes, it is possible to overdo it. Celebrating too often can be as detrimental as not celebrating enough.
Patting people on the back for every little thing will not only cause your employees to become immune to (and cynical of) your recognition efforts, it will also result in a team that is unable to discern which behaviors and achievements truly matter. Employees will become less committed and less focused. Eventually, they may demand praise simply for showing up.
Find your happy place
Even the hardest working, highest skilled, most confident team likes to have a little fun every now and then.
Come up with a plan for how you want to celebrate success in your organization. How will you recognize effort, contributions, and milestones, both individually and as a team? What kind of feedback, praise and rewards will you offer, and how often? Find that sweet spot that works for your culture and organization.
If you’re on the annual review plan, consider stepping it up a bit. If you have a lot of employees, you may feel like you’re recognizing people all the time. But if each individual is only getting feedback and kudos once a year, it may not be enough to nurture their loyalty and productivity. Or their souls.
If you’re on the daily “Good job!” train, you may want to scale it back. Less frequent, more meaningful interactions could go a long way to making your team feel sincerely valued and appreciated. Instead of daily affirmations, think about offering professional mentoring and coaching instead.
Make sure your team feels sincerely valued and appreciated by company management and leadership. If you do it right, they will happily return the favor.
At Raffa Financial, we provide long-lasting benefits strategies to take care of your business and your employees. Located in Rockville, Maryland, we identify and manage complex employee benefits challenges for businesses all over the greater Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC area.
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