A happy staff is a productive staff. A happy workforce is also one that won’t jump ship for a dollar an hour more down the street. Recruiting and hiring new employees puts a drain on your profits, so keeping an employee is more cost effective than continually hiring new staff. Celebrating the accomplishments of your employees on a regular basis not only helps to ensure the success of the individual, it also secures the success of the company.
While awards, raises and bonuses certainly can signify your satisfaction with employees, sometimes just a simple recognition of accomplishments is sufficient to keep employees motivated to do it again. Set goals and let the entire staff know when an employee or team reaches a goal. Define a mission statement for your staff and recognize the efforts they make to carry out that mission. Be specific and do it regularly. Make announcements, send out emails, put a list of names in the company newsletter. Use any number of communication tools to recognize superior work.
Take a survey of your staff to find out what’s important to them. What accomplishments do they achieve that they feel are underappreciated? Ask them what tasks or habits should be celebrated in your department. Getting employees involved in the process of setting up a recognition program helps them to buy-in to the process. They’ll take ownership of the goals and pride in their own success when they reach goals they’ve helped create.
Throw a party to celebrate landmarks and achievements. Giving your staff time to celebrate strengthens the bonds between your employees, providing even more reasons to like their jobs and want to come to work. Social activities strengthen the bonds between employees. And people want to see their friends succeed, so you can achieve multiple goals with an occasional celebration party. You build the effectiveness of your teams, give everyone a chance to have a little fun and motivate employees to want to do it again.
One of the main motivations employees need to succeed is the recognition that they are making progress. Whether it’s increasing their sales or helping people in the community, employees remain motivated when their efforts are recognized and celebrated. Too often the big company milestones are kept for the owner or upper management to celebrate when it’s the front lines that make it happen. Celebrations are ways to acknowledge employee participation and include your staff in the company’s success. A sense of progress is one of the four intrinsic values employees need most from their jobs, along with meaningfulness in their work, active engagement and feelings of competency. When those needs are met, your staff will get and stay motivated to succeed.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."