Small wins boost morale, small setbacks evoke disappointment.
Why do we often tend to forget to celebrate small wins?
Aren’t these victories worth acknowledgment? Or is it only the accomplishment of our big goals that inflates our pride?
“Team progress is a powerful human motivator but many teams only mark progress when big projects are complete or when significant milestones happen.” – Dr. David Burkus, Organizational psychologist
Whatever school of thought you are, I remain firm on the fact that the hunger and drive that comes with accomplishing one milestone is unbeatable.
Every step taken motivates us to keep pushing forward.
Before I start to talk about the importance of small achievement celebrations, remember, that every triumph, no matter the scale and its impact is worth recognizing.
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Innovative ways to celebrate small wins at work
While you can take various approaches to recognize employee achievements, both private and public employee recognition games wonders in enhancing team performance.
And Deloitte’s study confirms that organizations that put efforts into recognizing the efforts of their employees, witness 14% higher employee engagement, performance, and productivity.
Though financial compensation or offering bonuses is a common practice, countless tips exist for celebrating team success.
- Gifts such as chocolates, and baked goodies
- A hand-made card
- Paid holidays
- Give away movie tickets
- Host seminars or specialized events
- Offer gift cards for spa, coffee
- Host a team lunch
- Make a company-wide announcement
- Host a little month-end award ceremony to acknowledge their efforts
- Get food items or goodies delivered to their address
- Give a raise in salary (if the achievement is …)
- Have team social hours (in remote setup)
How to celebrate small wins in the workplace?
Apart from all the thoughtful gestures mentioned above, I’ve made it simpler for you to identify the most effective spirit-lifters for different team behaviors and roles.
Based on the different human behaviors, you need to put in effort to understand every human’s unique personality and preferences before signing their praises. It should be done in a specialized way, and shouldn’t make them feel uncomfortable.
- If they’re extrovert
Extroverts are socially energized people and public recognition is like a fuel to their growth.
The best way to admire them is to celebrate their small wins with shout-outs during office meetings or group events.
Praising them verbally in front of others or creating a congratulatory video message to congratulate them on their win, provides them the validation they need to excel.
- If they feel socially awkward
Introverts do not like being in the spotlight.
Express gratitude for their small accomplishments by drafting them a hand-written appreciation note or a message, is a thoughtful way to respect their intimacy.
Another way to celebrate their wins at work is to offer them private rewards like a spa day or solo movie day to avoid putting them in a spot.
- If they’re innovative thinkers
Innovative minds have a knack for creativity.
Whenever their unique approaches get you results, allowing them the opportunity to experiment and explore challenging norms in their own way. Letting them present their unique solutions will boost their confidence.
You can go all innovative with these people when appreciating their ability to generate new ideas, like organizing innovation retreats.
- If they’re adaptable
Adaptability is a superpower.
Acknowledging the wins of people who do not crumble in difficult situations and adapt themselves to the shifting circumstances, should highlighted in front of everyone.
You can involve the adaptability award category in your monthly employee kudos program or build a weekly adaptability wall to appreciate their ability to adapt.
- If they’re spontaneous
Being spontaneous is a virtue in itself.
Sometimes, we tend to forget to appreciate the stable, behind-the-scenes domains that are operating fine. Take time to remind everyone of their continuous efforts to keep the cycle running smoothly and fine.
You can leave them random appreciation notes on their desk, or send a virtual message, or give them a standing ovation out of the blue in front of the entire team.
- If they’re multitaskers
Some people are born multitasking maestros.
These people prove their effectiveness even while juggling multiple apps together. And they get things done quickly with preciseness and without sacrificing quality.
You should acknowledge their skills and let them share quick tips and tricks to stand firm in moments of pressure. You can even provide them with a small bonus (not yearly) to recognize their exceptional multitasking abilities.
Check out this article to find the 14 amazing employee recognition software
Now that we’ve reached the other part, appreciating someone based on their roles and their seniority levels is necessary. The frequency of celebrating their wins will differ majorly.
- If they’re managers
Managers are the cornerstones behind smooth team operations.
Offer them a new opportunity to work on a special project to signify that you value their efforts and trust them with important responsibilities.
Make sure to be precise and specific, instead of just offering a ‘good job’.Go all out while expressing gratitude for their leadership in a public raise.
- If they’re newcomers
Newcomers add new flavors of innovation to businesses.
Acknowledgement of newcomer efforts can be frequent. To begin with, it could be anything from appreciating their job well done or accomplishing tasks week after week.
And if they perform well in their routine duties, encourage them to learn an extra skill or give them a shout-out on social media. (especially if they’re GenZ, they love social media recognition)
- If they’re remote workers
Appreciation for remote teams should be the same as for office employees.
In a virtually scattered environment where personal and professional lines usually get blurred, recognizing their efforts is necessary to make sure they don’t feel left out.
You can make a company-wide announcement using project management and remote work software platforms like ProofHub, to get their hard work recognized. Or you can even surprise them with any home-office upgrade device.
- If they’re HR
HRs are often the unsung heroes.
HRs are the major architects that make sure employees feel content, productive, and engaged at the workplace. However, their efforts often remain unnoticed.
Offering their efforts regular recognition is the best way to appreciate their dedication to go above and beyond. You can introduce them with different tags like ‘Problem Solver of the Month’, ‘Innovative HR’, and more.
- If they’re team leaders
Team leaders are the backbone of successful teams.
The best way you can celebrate team leaders on their task accomplishment is by motivating the team members to come up with their own unique tributes or expressions of gratitude.
While if you hold the senior position, give the team leaders the autonomy to lead the team in their own way. And for better, add to their skills by investing in their professional development.
- If they’re team members
A team that works together, achieves success together.
If the win is a result of combined team efforts, make sure to celebrate their achievement collectively.
Use peer-to-peer awards to reward exceptional contributions or incorporate team meeting shoutouts to build a positive team culture.
Why does celebrating small wins matter?
Celebrating success is like pouring fuel into the motivational fire.
Best leaders pour in their best efforts to create an environment where recognition and praise keep flowing from all directions.
According to Gallup, personalized, meaningful, and memorable recognition, coming from senior leadership, promotes a sense of accomplishment, motivation, and productivity.
While you can’t deny the positive impact of employee rewards and recognition (R&R) programs on the overall well-being and professional performance of employees, there is a positive influence too.
Let’s get into it in detail.
- Boosts motivation and engagement
Small achievements act as milestones.
Celebrating little wins motivates teams to work hard and reaffirms their belief in being on the right track. This sense of progress fuels the sense of ongoing motivation.
- Builds self-esteem
Each small victory develops a positive self-perception within employees.
When employees see their efforts bearing fruits, their self-esteem and self-confidence enhance and they feel more invested in their work.
This improved self-esteem boosts their confidence to be capable and competent in the workplace and beyond.
- Promotes happiness
Celebrating and acknowledging achievements result in the production of dopamine.
Acknowledgments and celebrating achievements, no matter how small, promote positive emotions and contentment that benefit both emotional and mental well-being.
These celebration moments, inspire you to work towards a greater goal with renewed motivation and determination.
- Reduces stress
Worrying about how you’ll tackle the large piece of work on your plate eats up your time, energy, and focus. You waste valuable resources worrying about the extremeness of the task.
But when you break a larger task into smaller and manageable pieces, you get a sense of accomplishment with each smaller completion.
- Enhances continuous learning
Each small win is an opportunity for assessment and reflection.
Remember, there is always room for improvements and adjustments. When you achieve small milestones, you can assess what needs to be continued and what should be dropped.
It’s a chance for you to learn from your successes and failures, and use that insight to build your next strategy.
Explore 5 amazing ways to celebrate the goals and milestones of your team to achieve greater goals.
Small wins as a motivation tool
Not every win should be big enough to count.
Instead, it is important to enjoy every little step that leads you toward the greatest goal. And celebrating small successes is just like that. It keeps teams engaged, motivated, and collaborating at their optimal level.
Celebrate impact, contributions, and progress at each level. After all, it is only by recognizing the value of small victories, that can we promote a culture of continuous improvement, agility, and success.
Explore how ProofHub’s announcement serves the purpose of celebrating wins with teams.
What is a small win?
A small win is a victory or achievement of a task or goal, no matter, how small. Motivating yourself to go on a walk is a small win in your personal life while meeting a daily target is a professional little win.
How often should we celebrate small wins?
No specific limit exists to celebrating small wins. In my opinion, though, everyone should celebrate the achievement of every goal or achievement in a unique and meaningful way.
Can small wins work for all types of teams?
Of course, they do. Celebrating small accomplishments changes the perspective and calls for high spirit among the teams that lack morale and motivation.
What to do if we're facing budget constraints for celebrations?
Not every celebration needs to be capitalized. Peer-to-peer recognition programs, leadership support, team social hours, and simple gratitude gestures are some non-financial methods that not only impact morale but also improve retention stats.