Boost confidence and connections by celebrating success the right way

Success comes in a variety of forms, each with its own approach to how it should be celebrated. When done right, celebrating success can improve performance, strengthen relationships, and encourage employees to deliver their best work.

This guide explores how you can celebrate success the right way, boosting employee confidence and reinforcing a success-based mindset throughout the organisation.

Why celebrate success?

Celebrating success should be an integral component of how performance is managed. It increases motivation by letting employees know they are on the right path. 

Employees who feel a sense of achievement has been reinforced through recognition can gain greater confidence, leading to continued success.

Why celebrate success

This sense of achievement also has an impact on others. When colleagues see success being celebrated, they know the company values accomplishments and will be committed to working harder. Employee engagement across the board can then be improved.

As the article from Forbes, How Celebrating Success Can Lead To More Of It, points out:

“An employee who trusts you, and who believes in what they are doing, will more likely do everything in their power to benefit the organization as a whole. Your team should be composed mostly of these individuals. If everyone is on the same page and feels valued, they will put forth the effort required to accomplish whatever task or project they are assigned.”

Let’s take a closer look at some of the main reasons why it’s important to celebrate success in the workplace.

Why it’s celebrating success is important

Celebrating success can introduce a range of benefits, from enhancing intrinsic motivation to boosting employee engagement. 

But some business leaders fail to implement the necessary steps to celebrate success on a regular basis. Whether this is because they say they are too busy or aren’t satisfied with the work, these leaders are missing regular opportunities to help employees improve their performance.

Why it's important to celebrate success

Companies that celebrate success:

  • Give employees the means to learn and adapt. Understanding why things went well arms people with the tools to replicate success. 
  • Encourage a successful mindset. Celebrating success sets the foundation for a mindset of positivity, driving employees to approach their work with enthusiasm.
  • Build stronger relationships with their employees. Conversations around success help employees bond while improving employee skills development.
  • Can better identify potential A-players. Making decisions about how to deploy training and development resources is made easier when business leaders can determine where the talent lies. HR leaders can use data analytics tools to map individual, team and organisational successes to isolate hot spots of excellent performance.
  • Understand how effective their goal-setting strategy is. Success is often tied to a company’s core objectives, with the frequency of success indicating how realistic – or otherwise – company goals are.

When should we celebrate success at work?

There are multiple opportunities for celebrating success. This can be a simple “thank you” to more comprehensive forms such as using the awards and recognition programs available through performance management software. Indeed, celebrating success can be achieved through a variety of methods, giving managers and team leaders a range of options to make it a consistent process.

When to celebrate success at work

Here are some examples of citations when celebrating success should be applied:

When recognition of success will increase motivation

There are times when employees work hard without tangible results, which means the hard work can easily be overlooked. Recognising and celebrating their efforts can increase motivation by demonstrating that their hard work is appreciated. This can be achieved by being more reactive, and rewarding the smaller successes of daily work to let them know they are on the right track.

When their work is truly exceptional

It perhaps goes without saying that exceptional work should be celebrated publicly. At the same time, praise for consistently high performers should be reserved primarily for exceptional work, avoiding excessive flattery and unnecessary confidence-boosting. 

Striking the right balance between public and private praise is also important. Remember to consider each employee individually. If their personality leans towards introversion, they may appreciate you celebrating their success in a more discreet manner.

When their work has been consistently good

Not all success arrives with a bang, and consistently good work shouldn’t be overlooked. Some employees perform extremely well, but their work is supporting other business functions on a consistent basis. These successes, while not necessarily “glamorous”, are nevertheless crucial for the company’s success, and should be celebrated accordingly.

This can include data analysis work and number crunching which some employees view as a thankless task. It’s especially important that these employees get the recognition they deserve, as failure to do so could lead to disengagement.

When it’s the first win

When an employee achieves their first win, celebrating success is essential to set the stage for future behaviour. Celebrating success should be a key element of a company’s culture that seeks to celebrate wins at all times, even small wins. Celebrating the first win reinforces this culture, and is particularly important when it’s a new hire who has achieved their goals.

When a new hire is praised for their first win, it gives them the confidence that they have made the right decision to join your company. This confidence is then replicated in the co-workers who observe this praise, further strengthening the sense that the culture is defined by success.

When their actions align with company values

The best performance occurs when the employee is strongly aligned with their company’s core values, and success that exhibits this alignment should be celebrated. By doing so, other employees can see clear examples of these values, and what expectations the company has for employees to work to achieve them.

When it’s made a difference to someone else

Success isn’t just about when an employee meets their goals; it’s also about employees who go the extra mile to help one another achieve success on a collective level. When someone goes out of their way to help a colleague accomplish a task, or takes on part of their workload so they can take time off, it’s also time to celebrate. By doing so, a sense of team spirit is fostered where success is something to be shared.

How to celebrate employees in the right way

Employee success can be celebrated in a broad variety of ways. The Forbes magazine article discussing creative ways to recognise employee success points to a number of approaches business leaders can implement.

Creative ways to recognise employee success

These include:

  • Making feedback continuous and spontaneous
  • Including shout-outs in your regular team meetings
  • Having peer-nominated awards on a regular basis
  • Using the company’s social media platforms to celebrate wins
  • Focusing on the achievements of the organisation to enhance alignment

You can also use performance management software to place the celebration of success front and centre. Any awards and recognition programs can be used to share success stories with the company at large, for instance by posting these on an employee’s Today Screen along with other company announcements.

The way success should be celebrated can vary depending on the nature of the employee’s role and other circumstances. Their role and responsibilities, personality type, and the nature of the tasks they’ve accomplished are all things to consider.

Employee types to recognise differently

Let’s examine a few examples of how these factors can shape the way success is celebrated.

If they’re a particularly social person

When a sociable member of staff achieves something, celebrating their success publicly is a great way to help promote wins throughout teams and departments. Announce their success in the next team meeting, or share it via the company’s social news feed, for maximum impact. 

It’s also worth encouraging the employee to discuss how they succeeded with colleagues since sociable people are typically good communicators.

If they’re a senior manager

Experienced members of staff such as senior managers will expect success to be celebrated in a minimal manner so that it doesn’t disrupt their schedules. These employees have reached this position through consistently high performance, so their wins don’t need to be shouted from the proverbial rooftops. Celebrating their successes accordingly and in line with all-employee reward schemes can foster teamwork and an inclusive culture.

If they’ve just joined the company

Managers and team leaders need time to evaluate how to celebrate success with new hires. It’s often not immediately apparent if they are introverted or extroverted, and leaping to assumptions can mean they misjudge how to celebrate success. When a new member of staff achieves success, take the time to praise them in private, for example in their next scheduled one-to-one meeting, alongside public recognition.

If they’re a team

When the entire team delivers great results, the best approach is to celebrate their success throughout the company. Good places to share team news are through a morning announcement, via a company newsletter, or by using performance management tools to share via a news feed. 

As well as championing the “what” of the team’s achievements, try to shed some light on the “how” they accomplished their goals. By doing so, the core reasons and motivations that led to success can be better understood and replicated by other teams and departments within the company.

If they’re an introvert

Public praise for a job well done works great when dealing with the successes of extroverted employees. In contrast, introverted members of staff may find direct reward more meaningful, so a more discrete approach to celebrating success is required.

When an introverted employee accomplishes goals, you can consider first praising them privately, before considering whether they’d like to share company-wide. Speak to them when alone, or send them an email or note to let them know their work has been recognised and appreciated.

If they’ve been doing the same task for some time

When employees have been doing the same task for some time, it’s easy to overlook how important a role they have been playing. In such circumstances, it’s a good idea to show recognition for this across the relevant team or department. Acknowledge that these tasks don’t necessarily get the recognition they deserve while emphasising their value to the company’s overall own success.

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When success is celebrated, performance, motivation and employee engagement all benefit. When celebrating success is incorporated into a company’s culture, it encourages a can-do mentality that leads to further achievements.

This guide should help managers and team leaders to celebrate success in a range of situations, adopting the right approach depending on who has reached their goals and the role they play in the organisation.